SF offers compromise on controversial Mission District Muni-only red lanes

Relief is on the way for Mission District residents seeing red over controversial bus-only lanes that were installed in February.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced Monday changes to the road rules around the Mission Street red bus-only lanes, which stretch from 14th to 30th streets.

The bus-only lanes were decried by Mission District residents at an SFMTA open house in late June, when more than 100 residents opposed a series of forced right turns on Mission Street that were meant to facilitate faster bus movement.

But merchants claimed businesses saw a drop in car-driving customers, and locals who drive said they had a tougher time driving home.

Transit advocates countered that the 14-Mission and 49-Van Ness lines saw speedier trips for more than 65,000 daily bus riders.

Now the SFMTA says they’ll roll back two of those forced right turns: one at Mission and 26th streets, and another at Mission and 22nd streets.

They’ll also move one bus stop on Cortland Avenue, and exempt taxis from a left turn restriction on 21st Street.

Still, some in the community feel the compromise is not enough.

“This does not have the community support,” said Erick Arguello, who represents the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. “I think we need to look at it more deeply than just two right turns.”

One remaining issue, he said, is the forced turn at Mission and Cesar Chavez streets. He called it a “wall” that effectively separates Bernal Heights from the Mission District, heading north.

Arguello said the community members plan turn out in force at the SFMTA Board of Directors’ Aug. 16 meeting to decry the new changes.

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