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Following success of San Francisco’s “quick-build” program for recent bike and pedestrian safety improvements, Muni officials are looking to utilize the program to improve speed and reliability on bus lines.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors last week approved an authority handover to The City’s traffic engineer to allow establishment of tow-away zones and to either move bus stops or change their lengths without requiring board approval.

Sean Kennedy, transit planning manager for the SFMTA, said staff have already identified 10 “hot spot” locations where buses run as slow as 3 mph.

“We are proposing as a way to address these top 10 locations; a quick build program that can really focus on getting improvements on the street right away and improving some of these lines.”

Many of the segments slated for improvement are just a stop’s length and Kennedy said staff can work quickly and precisely in those areas where bus speeds are impacted, Kennedy said.

The transit agency will hold public hearings to address traffic and parking changes.

Cat Carter, interim executive director for San Francisco Transit Riders, supports the quick-build Muni agenda, saying:

“We’ve seen the success of how it worked with pedestrian bicycle safety projects to be able to roll out things a lot quicker and leave riders behind waiting for years for outreach to happen for reasonable and proven treatments that we know work.”

Mayor London Breed echoed that in a statement:

“While it will take time to work through some of the systemic challenges our system faces, including operator shortages and infrastructure, we should waste no time in making the small, simple changes that can improve the transit experience for everyday riders.”

The recommendation to establish a quick-build program for Muni comes out of the mayor’s Muni Reliability Working Group, which was headed by former City Controller Ed Harrington and Vice Chair of the SFMTA board Gwyneth Borden.

Before approval, Borden simply said:

“Brilliant.”

SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said in a statement:

“By approving a quick-build approach to these transit improvements, we’re able to accelerate the work to enhance the reliability of Muni service in our transit-first city.”

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn covers transportation and City Hall in San Francisco. Jerold is a San Francisco native who works out of City Hall and rides Muni every single day to work. Email: jerold@sfbay.ca. Twitter: @Jerold_Chinn

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