Alamo Square residents seek tour bus relief

San Francisco residents who live around Alamo Square want something done about tour buses that roll through their neighborhood showing tourists the Painted Ladies.

Noise and pollution — combined with clogged traffic and slowed Muni buses around Alamo Square — are just some of the complaints from residents. Tour buses are known to double-park or park at Muni bus stops, residents said.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates parking and traffic in The City, presented two proposals at its policy meeting Friday morning.

Jerry Robbins, transportation planning manager, said tour buses could be restricted to either driving east on Fulton Street — on the north side of Alamo Square — or west of Hayes Street along the south side of the square.

Robbins also recommends moving a bus loading zone for hop-on and off tour buses located on Fell and Divisadero streets, which has been in place for six months. Residents in that area are also complaining about noise and vibrations from the tour buses and traffic.

Jonathan Martin, who lives right in front of the loading zone, said he has no privacy because tourists can see through his window. Martin said he shuts his windows most of the time:

“For us residents it’s absolutely intolerable.”

Gus Hernanadez, vice president of the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, said he would like the see the tour buses restricted around the park and kept on larger streets near the park like Webster and Fell:

“This is primarily a safety concern since the buses clog the small streets and cause safety concerns for pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles, on steep hills with limited visibility.”

Hernandez said tour buses supposedly regulate themselves by not accessing Hayes and Steiner streets, he still sees them.

SFMTA Director Jerry Lee said that even with the regulations in place, there needs to be enforcement to make sure tour buses are in compliance.

Legislation needs to be drafted and approved by the SFMTA board before any changes are made along with a public hearing before any changes can be made, said Robbins.