Muni’s trip down 4th Street will soon take less time with a one-block extension of a transit-only lane between Market and Mission streets.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors Tuesday approved the traffic configuration to extend a transit-only lane on 4th Street to Howard and Folsom streets as the street-level Central Subway construction winds down.
A SFMTA staff report said the transit agency is getting ready to restripe traffic lanes as crews begin removing construction equipment near the future site of the Yerba Buena/Moscone Central Subway transit stop.
Steve Boland, project manager for the 4th Street Transit Improvement Project, said the new traffic configuration will speed up Muni bus travel time down the congested corridor.
Prior to Central Subway construction activities, traffic lanes were configured where Muni buses shared a transit-only lane with vehicles making a right turn at the intersection of 4th and Howard streets.
Muni buses were provided a transit-only lane during peak evening commute times at Howard and Clementina streets.
That will now change with buses given access to a full-time dedicated red transit-only lane that will extend to Folsom Street, Boland said.
4th Street is one of The City’s busiest corridors with five Muni bus routes that travel through the area. According to SFMTA reporting, the combined five Muni routes support average weekday ridership of more than 70,000 boardings.
While SFMTA board directors supported the project, Director Steve Heminger said he would have liked to see a bike lane included in the project. The bike lane could happen later as part of the Central SoMa Plan, which calls for upzoning in new development areas and 4th street safety improvements.
Heminger would like to see the additional safety improvements happen sooner rather than later. Heminger said:
“It does strike me that we hear the answer, ‘We’re going to try do that later,’ quite a bit. It seems to me we have to start turning the corner and doing the stuff now. I just hope I don’t see too many more of these items coming back with that answer.”