Advocates call for Muni service that can cross SF in 30 minutes

Supes join rally for #TransitWeek, show support for faster travel times

Imagine crossing from the Richmond District to the Bayview in just 30 minutes, on a Muni bus.

Or from the Ingleside neighborhood to the Marina. Or the Dogpatch to the Fillmore.

To many Muni riders, making any of those trips in just 30 minutes may sound like science fiction — even crossing from Geary Boulevard in the avenues to Candlestick Point takes well over an hour — but to one advocacy group, it’s San Francisco’s necessary future.

The San Francisco Transit Riders kicked off its annual Transit Week celebration on Monday morning at City Hall, surrounded by a bevy of city leaders touting a plan to cross The City by Muni in just 30 minutes.

That’s the advocacy group’s “30 x 30: The Rapid Rider Network” plan, to get Muni on track to deliver end-to-end “rapid” service by the year 2030. While it isn’t necessarily a new plan, it has recently gained new energy — the San Francisco Transit Riders launched a rider survey hoping to identify which routes would best be served by such a network, and the recent growth of the advocacy group itself has poured fuel on the fire.

Nine out of the eleven members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors stood with the transit riders on the steps of City Hall, many of them touting a “rapid” Muni network after themselves riding buses to the event, sharing their rides on social media with the hashtag #TransitWeek2019.

Rapid bus networks are routes like the 38R-Geary Rapid, which skips some stops to speed up travel time, shows up every ten minutes or even more often for reliability, and enjoys street priority — like a red bus-only lane — so buses don’t get stuck in traffic. Supervisors were also flanked by San Francisco’s state lawmaking contingent, state Sen. Scott Wiener, and Assemblymembers Phil Ting and David Chiu.

Some of those supervisors touted possible subways to achieve the 30 x 30 goal. Supervisor Sandra Fewer told those gathered that she took the 5R-Fulton Rapid to City Hall that morning, a trip from the Richmond District that took under 30 minutes.

“I need to give a plug for the west side underground to Mission Bay in 30 minutes,” Fewer said, floating a possible subway idea. “That’s my goal.”

Mission Bay has recently been touted as a possible starting point for a future Transbay crossing for BART or Caltrain, and extending such a rail line to Geary Boulevard has for decades been a dream of some transit planners.

Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee also touted subways.

“Central Subway is just the beginning of putting (Muni) underground,” he said. Yee said he secured funding to accelerate planning of the M-Ocean View underground. The last posted public meeting for that project was February last year.

Since then, most future subway considerations have been rolled into the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s ConnectSF program, which is canvassing San Franciscans to envision The City’s transit future more broadly, to help pinpoint future transportation priorities.

Supervisor Gordon Mar also said he supports the San Francisco Transit Riders 30 x 30 campaign. Wiener lauded the San Francisco Transit Riders for their recent growth as an organization around the effort, calling them a “critically important” voice.

With that voice, Thea Selby, chair of the transit riders’ board, noted 30 x 30 is as much about “climate and equity” for communities as it is about getting where you need to go.

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