“Monumental” changes to Muni service and routes were approved Friday morning by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board members, signaling the green light for proposals shaped through years of planning and public input.
Absent one, the transit agency's board of directors approved the Transit Effectiveness Project fully. More than 50 percent of Muni's 81 lines will see frequency increases or decreases, new routes, realigned routes, eliminated routes, expanded limited stop service or extended operating hours. It is the first major overhaul in more than three decades.
“The scale of the changes is pretty monumental,” said SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin. “This is a very large body of work. We still have small issues to be resolved but don't want to lose sight of the fact that there's a tremendous amount of positive changes being proposed without any controversies.”
Public comment Friday morning went on for a couple of hours, with plenty of residents still asking for modifications to the service changes. Herbert Weiner asked that the 33-Stanyan preserve its stop at San Francisco General and the 43-Masonic continue to stop at the Hall of Justice.
But San Francisco Transit Riders Union Chairman Bob Boden urged SFMTA board members to consider not only the people voicing their concerns at the board meeting, but the 700,000 daily Muni riders.
“If you start pulling pieces away the whole plan falls apart, so please approve the entire TEP,” Boden urged.
Julie Kirschbaum, SFMTA's operations planning and scheduling manager, said the agency's developing two-year budget is critical in rolling out the service changes. The plan calls for a 12 percent increase in service, with up to 10 occurring in the next couple of years.
“Our timing is based on where we have the greatest need, where the proposals are linked together,” Kirschbaum said. “We've worked to make sure the timing of this work lines up with the procurement of the new vehicles, in particular getting the 60-foot trolley vehicles on Stockton Street.”
Over the last year, SFMTA has put 112 new buses into service. In the next two to three years, an additional 75 new articulated buses and another 14 new 40-foot buses will be added to expand the fleet.