Muni transit shelters allow passengers to visibly locate bus stops, provide updated information for arriving vehicles, and offer an important lifeline for the agency’s disabled and senior citizen customers.
They can also be a hotbed for criminal activity and drug use and a haven for The City’s sizeable homeless population.
With these two factors playing against each other, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, is in the midst of developing a policy for when it’s OK to remove transit shelters.
The SFMTA recently removed three transit shelters in the Tenderloin due to community concerns over safety and public health problems at the stops. However, the removals of those stops has drawn criticism from senior citizen and disabled groups, who say that the absence of those shelters creates access issues for people who have trouble walking longer distances to pick-up and drop-off points.
On Tuesday, the SFMTA could approve an amended policy that would detail what circumstances and procedures would permit the removal of a transit shelter.
The proposed policy states that a transit shelter will only be removed if a hazardous situation or accessibility issue cannot be addressed through enforcement or infrastructure improvements.
If the agency decides to move forward with the shelter removal, it will hold a public hearing and host outreach meetings to gather feedback from minority and disadvantaged communities. Ultimately, it will be up to the SFMTA’s director of transportation, Ed Reiskin, to make the final call, based on information he gathers from an agency hearing officer.
The SFMTA board of directors will vote on this transit shelter removal policy at its meeting Tuesday.