The days of sardine-can conditions on Muni’s 28-19th Avenue line may soon be over.
The bus route’s 17,500 daily riders may soon notice a jolt in speed, as well as extra “Rapid” buses to help ease crowding.
And along the busiest sections of 19th Avenue, new sidewalk engineering will soon improve safety for riders boarding Muni vehicles.
This is all part of the 28 19th Avenue Rapid Capital Project, approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors at their regular Tuesday meeting.
Sean Kennedy, program manager of Muni Forward, the SFMTA’s effort to speed up transit across The City, told the board pedestrian safety is the project’s main priority.
Nineteenth Avenue is also a major highway, with nearly 70,000 cars speeding down it daily, Kennedy said, which presents a major safety challenge. The project will encompass a 3.4 mile segment of 19th Avenue between Lincoln Way and Eucalyptus Drive, Kennedy said, which in the last five years experienced more than 400 traffic collisions.
Of those crashes, 54 involved pedestrians, he said, resulting in six fatalities.
The $23 million project will install 49 pedestrian bulbs and 21 transit bulbs along 19th Avenue sidewalks. Those are essentially jutting portions of sidewalk, which reduce street crossing distance and increases pedestrian visibility to traffic.
The 28 bus will also pull directly up to the new transit bulbs, meaning buses will no longer need to maneuver in and out of lanes to pick up riders, Kennedy said. Bus stops will also be consolidated along 19th Avenue, from every one block to every two blocks.
The frequency of the 28 bus will also increase, Kennedy said, and the 28R will now go from a rush-hour bus line to an all day service running from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Right now the bus is “basically a school tripper,” Kennedy said. The line serves Lowell, Lincoln and Mercy high schools as well as San Francisco State University, among other schools, significantly crowding the 28 during rush hour.
Extending frequency and hours will “essentially double capacity,” Kennedy said, adding it should “greatly reduce the crowding on a per-bus basis” and cut travel time down by about 20 percent.
SFUSD student Jessica Eng, 16, knows the pain of a crowded 28 bus. “It’s really discouraging when you get passed by a bus that’s full,” she said. “It’s just hard because the 28 is close to my school, but it’s so infrequent.”
The 19th Avenue engineering improvements are projected to complete by summer 2018.
Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Ferrara applauded the project’s emphasis on safety.
Nineteenth Avenue is among 6 percent of The City’s most dangerous streets, she said, responsible for more than 60 percent of severe and fatal crashes.