Muni wants to speed 19th Avenue buses

The 28-19th Avenue bus and its limited service are two busy Muni routes in San Francisco.

Both routes carry a total of about 15,000 riders daily, which include San Francisco State University students, tourists heading to the Golden Gate Bridge, residents making a connection either in the Sunset or Richmond districts or riders heading to Lombard Street.

The buses also make stops at he Daly City BART station, the Stonestown Mall and two nearby high schools.

Thousands of riders depend on the 28-19th Avenue bus, which is why the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is looking to make service improvements along the 19th Avenue portion of the route between Lincoln Way and Holloway Avenue.

The bus can often been seen packed to the brim with riders or passing up riders because it just cannot fit anymore riders as it did to Muni rider Dustin Allen last month:

Allen said he walked from Fulton Street all the way to Sloat Boulevard before he could even get on a 28 bus.

The SFMTA wants to transform the often slow and unreliable 28 to a rapid bus ride for riders by proposing to eliminate bus stops, putting bus bulbs at most bus stops on 19th Avenue and relocating stops from the near side to the far side.

The problems that have plagued the 28 bus route throughout the years have been well documented. On average, the 28 is on time about 58 percent of the time while the limited is higher at 62 percent.

The 28 bus travels about 9.2 miles per hour while the limited travels 11.9 miles per hour in mixed-traffic with drivers either heading north to the Golden Gate Bridge or south to Daly City.

Traffic congestion and frequent stops have contributed to the the 28’s reliability problems, said Sean Kennedy, who is the project manager of Muni Forward — a series of projects that seeks to improve all Muni service including focusing on improving the transit system’s heavily used routes like the 28.

Kennedy said the transit agency is suggesting to remove eight bus stops on the 28 local service, which would increase the stop spacing from one to two blocks:

“…By stopping fewer times, buses would take less time to move through the corridor.”

Bus stops that could be removed include Ocean Avenue, Wawona Street, Ulloa Street, Santiago Street, Pacheco Street, Moraga Street, Kirkham Street and Irving Street.

The transit agency is also suggesting to remove limited service to three stops, which is already being served by the 28 local service.

Other improvements planned for the corridor include 13 bus bulbs so that drivers and pick up and drop off passenger without having to leave the travel lane and into a bus stop and then have merge back into traffic again, said Kennedy.

Eight bus stops will be relocated to the far side so that the buses can make use of the planned transit signal priority that will program traffic lights to hold green lights for approaching buses.

Kennedy said the proposed changes would reduce travel time on the 28 local service by 20 percent (four minutes of travel time in each direction). The limited service could see an 8 percent reduction in travel time (about 1.5 minutes of travel time in each direction):

“…Pairing that with our plans to increase the frequency of the 28L will provide an all-around better commute for our customers.”

The transit agency expects the average speed on the 28 local service to jump from 9.2 miles per hour to 11.5 miles per hour while the limited would jump from 11.9 miles per hour to 12.5 miles per hour.

The proposed changes will be up for a public discussion Thursday at Mercy High School where the SFMTA will hold an Open House at 6 p.m.

Notes

The M-Ocean View could also benefit from one improvement on 19th Avenue. The transit agency is proposing to shorten the left turn lane on Winston Drive so that fewer cars are waiting in front of train. The SFMTA is also proposing to extend 16 sidewalk corners so that pedestrians have a shorter distance crossing the street. … The SFMTA is also holding Open Houses for proposed changes on the 5-Fulton, 8X-Bayshore and 30-Stockton.