Muni dreams of the next 50 years

San Francisco’s transportation director is thinking about population growth in The City over the next few decades.

Ed Reiskin says in order for Muni to meet future needs and reduce the number of drivers as an attractive transit option, Muni needs to significantly reduce travel times through many of its major transit corridors.

Passengers currently endure rides of 40 to 50 minutes to get from Ocean Beach to the Embarcadero. Another grueling Muni ride is from 19th and Holloway to downtown, which could take 30 to 45 minutes.

The transit agency’s goal is to reduce the travel time to 25 minutes in both of those key transit corridors.

The SFMTA’s long-term vision for Muni does not yet mention costs or any concrete plans to reduce travel times. But Reiskin said the transit agency should start planning and setting goals at least for the next 50 years:

“The idea was just really was to start thinking about what we would need the transit system to look like in 50 years and 75 years if we’re going to be able mange this growth and keep people moving in The City.”

Reiskin said that the transit agency needs to focus on major “pinch-points” in the Muni Metro system where delays and slowdowns often occur.

West Portal station, Church and Duboce Streets, and Van Ness station are notorious sources of delays.

SFMTA Board Director Malcolm Heinicke had no problem with Reiskin discussing Muni’s long-term plans but wanted to know about short-term plans as well. He said the transit system is already not meeting capacity needs:

“Lets not talk about 50 years plans. Lets talk about how we take the existing network … and talk about how we improve the speed and capacity there.”

Heinicke also asked Reiskin to come up with ideas toward the end of year to make Muni more reliable:

“I would like to challenge you and your staff to be back at this board before 2013 is over with four concrete ideas, changes things that we can communicate to the public that will increase speed/capacity in our systems.”

View the SFMTA Long Range Vision Plan for Transit.