Muni gets red carpet treatment on Market

Market Street drivers are going to start seeing red on the roadway very soon.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will start painting red transit-only lanes Friday night on Market Street between Fifth and 12th streets to let drivers know that the lane is for Muni use only.

Work to paint the center traffic lanes in both directions will take place at night on Fridays and Saturdays through November to minimize impacts to traffic, according to the transit agency.

Work for the $1.8 million project will begin from 10:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. on Saturday, which will require a partial lane closure of the eastbound track lane of Market Street between Fifth and Mason streets.

Muni buses will operate in the curb lane and the F-Market/Wharves will continue to operate through the installation area.

Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said the red transit-only lanes will help improve and speed up reliability on the Muni lines that travel along Market Street:

“These lanes represent a low-cost, but high-impact measure to decrease travel time by preventing cars from using transit only lanes.”

The transit agency said the F-Market/Wharves, 6-Parnassus, 9-San Bruno, 9L-San Bruno, 71-Noriega/Haight and 71L-Noriega/Haight Muni routes will benefit from the red-transit only lane with improved speed and reliability.

The westbound center lane of Market Street — currently open to all vehicles between Steuart and Eighth streets — will become transit-only from Fifth to Eighth.

The SFMTA has already painted red transit-only lanes on Church Street, Third Street and on Geary Boulevard and O’Farrell Street transit-only lane.

Since painting the center lanes of Church Street between Duboce Avenue and 16th Street red, the 22-Fillmore and J-Church have seen improvements in speed and reliability, according to the SFMTA.

Last year the transit agency reported that the 22-Fillmore saw an average 5 percent reduction in travel time and an average 20 percent improved time reliability.

The red carpet treatment projects is part of the transit agency’s Muni Forward initiative to improve transit service citywide.

SFMTA spokeswoman Kristen Holland said a stretch of Judah Street starting on 19th Avenue will also get red transit-only lane sometime in the first half of 2015 for the N-Judah.