Subway detour set to snarl Stockton corridor

As of next Saturday, Muni riders on Stockton Street are looking at a four-year detour as the $1.6 billion Central Subway project gets under way.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has faced criticism for transportation along the corridor, where commuters are regularly packed like sardines.

The detour will force southbound 30-Stockton and 45-Greenwich buses off of Stockton at Sutter. The buses will head down Sutter to Mason, where they will turn left and go down the hill to Market Street.

So far, Muni’s plan to relieve additional congestion from the detour consists only of a supplemental shuttle for the 8x line at this point. The shuttle will operate on Stockton Street during peak service hours.Though it isn’t expected to start running for at least eight years, the subway will be necessary to meet future commuter demands, the MTA says.

In a report last summer, an outraged grand jury implored the MTA to overhaul the project in order “to better serve the San Francisco population.” Many locals believe it would be more cost effective to address existing Muni issues, which have been flagrantly ignored for years.

The 30-Stockton runs through one of The City’s densest areas, and has long been one of Muni’s most overcrowded and slowest lines.

Between Market and Sutter Streets, the 30-Stockton goes 3.6 mph, as cited by The Chronicle in 2007. At that pace, a brisk walk might get you there faster and less stressed.

SFMTA has already evaluated current transport improvements as an alternate to the Central Subway, but they were “rejected from further evaluation because they had fewer benefits in terms of service reliability and greater impacts on parking and traffic” said agency spokesperson Paul Rose.