Mission takes on Market's traffic burden

The automobile restrictions that have been in place on Market Street since September have helped speed up Muni service on the artery, but those gains have almost been completely offset by slower transit times on Mission Street.

For the past 11 months, private motorists travelling east on Market Street have been forced to take right-hand turns on 10th and Sixth streets. The reduction in vehicles has cleared the way for Muni buses and streetcars, which have increased their travel speeds by 5 percent since the implementation, according to agency documents.

As a result, Muni travel times on Market Street have decreased by 33 seconds. Muni vehicles now cover the distance from First Street to Ninth Street in an average time of 10 minutes and 44 seconds compared to the previous mark of 11 minutes and 17 seconds. Increased speed is essential for the Muni system because it allows the agency to run more buses per route, thus resulting in more efficient service and less-crowded vehicles.

Paul Rose, spokesman for the Municipal Transportation Agency, which is overseeing the automobile restriction program, said the project was not only intended to speed up transit vehicles on Market Street, but also a way to attract more bicyclists and pedestrians to the thoroughfare.

He said the program has succeeded in meeting those goals.

“Based on the results we’ve seen, it appears that this project has been successful in reducing through traffic on Market Street and improving performance of Muni buses and street cars, while creating a more pedestrian-friendly and bicycle-friendly street,” Rose said.

However, the cars that have been diverted from Market Street appear to be clogging up the flow on Mission Street, where Muni buses are running on average 3 percent slower. Muni already has one the slowest bus fleets in the nation, with the vehicles lurching forward at a collective speed of eight miles an hour. By comparison Seattle’s buses move at an average of 17 mph, while AC Transit buses in Oakland travel at 12 mph.

Rose said that while buses are running a little slower on Mission Street, the automobile diversions have not caused any major service shakeups.

Even with Market Street speeds getting faster, many Muni passengers said the service improvements were hard to notice.

“I ride on Market Street everyday, and I definitely don’t think the buses are moving any faster,” said Adam Tadesse, a San Francisco resident who rides the 21-Hayes, 38-Geary and the 5-Fulton. “The buses still go real slow.”

Originally started as a six-week pilot program, the automobile restrictions on Market Street have been extended indefinitely. The Planning Department is scheduled to complete a series of environmental studies in the coming weeks that could determine the project’s permanency.

Another clog

5%: Increase to Muni speed on Market Street since automobile restriction
33 seconds: Average time savings for Muni vehicles on Market Street
3%: Decrease to Muni speed on Mission Street since automobile restriction
8 mph: Average speed on Muni buses
32%: Increase in the number of bicyclists on Market Street since automobile restriction

* In September, the MTA instituted a policy that forced eastbound motorists on Market Street to turn right on Sixth and Eighth streets. In January, the forced-right turn on Eighth was moved to 10th Street.

Source: SFMTA

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

Most Read