Church Street transit-only lanes become permanent

One of San Francisco’s first painted stretch of red transit-only lanes will now become permanent.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors unanimously approved to keep the three-block stretch of Church Street between Duboce Avenue and 16th Street for Muni only at its Tuesday board meeting.

Directors approved the red transit-only lanes back in March 2013 as pilot.

The transit agency released a final report on how the red transit-only lanes have helped improved reliability of the J-Church and how the red paint has been a visual cue for drivers not drive in the red lane.

Sean Kennedy, program manager of the Muni Forward Project, said staff looked at four different criteria when evaluating the effectiveness of the Church Street transit-only lane, which included on-time performance, circulation of traffic, violations and the durability of the paint:

“We have seen travel time improve anywhere between 5 to 15 percent on that three-block stretch.”

Kennedy said the final report also looked at the number of violators on Church Street and compared it to the number of violators on Judah Street between 22nd and 25th avenues, which does not have its transit lanes painted red.

The report said the violation rate was at 7 percent on Church Street and 12 percent on Judah Street on the two days the transit agency collected data.

Kennedy also said the red paint coating is holding up well. At least 75 percent of paint is still there at transit stops while the mid-block intersection is about 80 to 90 percent still covered in red.

The 22-Fillmore was also to benefit from the center running transit-only lane, but the route was put back to the curb because the poles on the bus had a difficult time reaching the overhead wires at Duboce Avenue, said Kennedy.

Kennedy said the transit agency is working on fixing the overhead wires so that the 22-Fillmore can also make use of the red lane.

Red transit-only lanes have already been painted at a number of corridors including on Market Street, Geary Boulevard and on Haight Street.