Muni's 9-San Bruno line providing service between downtown San Francisco and Visitacion Valley is expected to see its overall route travel time drop by three to five minutes thanks to eight recently approved bus bulb-outs and other projects on the horizon.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors this month approved the bulb-outs and relocation of certain bus stops and parking spots along the route. The stop at Folsom and 11th streets will be eliminated. Three of the bulb-outs will stand as islands, allowing bikes to travel between the bulbout and the curb.
Bulb-outs, which are essentially sidewalk extensions, are planned throughout the 9-San Bruno route — one at Market and 11th streets, one near the U.S. Highway 101 underpass as Bayshore Boulevard becomes Potrero Avenue, two at Harrison and 11th streets, two at Bayshore and Oakdale Avenue, and two at Bayshore and Cortland Avenue.
The bulb-outs make it easier for buses to stop as well as passengers to get on and off, since the bus does not need to stop against the curb at an angle, said Sean Kennedy, program manager of Muni Forward, the umbrella project aimed at boosting the system's reliability, safety and comfort.
“The bus stays on the travel lane instead of pulling in and out of traffic, and can be straight up against the stop,” Kennedy said of the bulbouts. “People can get in and out with ease.”
But Jeff Lerner, an owner of Floorcraft, took issue with the SFMTA's plan to remove the existing bus stop in front of the parking lot of his shop at the northwest corner of Bayshore Avenue and Cortland Boulevard
and add a bulb-out at the southwest corner in front of a liquor and cigar store next to his other store, Flowercraft. During public comment, the small business owner said the planned bulbout took away parking spots there and could cause a bus logjam.
“I want to do good by my customers and good by my vendors and want to survive in a challenging environment,” Lerner said. “And you get more traffic when you funnel a wider road into a narrower road. There are some safety concerns.”
SFMTA Transportation Director Ed Reiskin said the agency would consider making the bulb-out at that site temporary and study the traffic impacts. Construction is contingent on funding and could begin as early as late next summer.
As early as November, the transit agency could kick off projects on Potrero Avenue between 16th and 25th streets designed to increase travel time savings of eight to 10 minutes on the 9-San Bruno and 9L-San Bruno Limited. The bulb-outs, pedestrian amenities and a southbound red transit-only lane would be constructed in conjunction with repaving by the Department of Public Works.
“The Potrero section is our most unreliable and time-consuming stretch of the 9-San Bruno, so that will be a huge, huge improvement,” Kennedy said. “And with the other improvements on 11th and Bayshore, the whole line will operate much smoother, way more reliable that it is today.”
Finally, in the next year and a half, SFMTA staff will look to engage the public on similar treatments along San Bruno Avenue.