Tweaks sought to Mission Street transit lanes

After complaints from Mission District merchants and drivers, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials will hold a public meeting and seek public feedback on the impact of red transit-only lanes added to Mission Street earlier this year.

The public outreach, announced in conjunction with Supervisor David Campos, will include a community hearing to be held next week, merchant walks in the area and a survey of residents and visitors on Mission Street, SFMTA officials said.

Red transit-only lanes and other changes were installed on Mission Street between 14th and 30th streets earlier this year in an effort to speed up bus travel times through the busy transit corridor and increase pedestrian safety.

The project has successfully reduced travel times and increased reliability for buses, and appears to have reduced collisions from three or four per week to only one since late March. The agency has received positive feedback from Muni riders and neighborhood residents on the changes, SFMTA officials said.

However, drivers have complained that it is now difficult to access Mission Street, and some merchants have reported a decrease in sales because of reduced vehicle traffic.

Campos said in a statement that fulfilling The City’s Transit First policy and Vision Zero goal, which aims to eliminate pedestrian deaths in San Francisco by 2020, requires tradeoffs, but that the tradeoffs “must be considered thoughtfully”:

“While I wholeheartedly support the goal of improving Muni reliability and speed, I want to make sure that the project works for everyone and take into the account the unique aspects of the Mission.”

SFMTA director of transportation Ed Reiskin said he believes the agency will be able to:

“… tweak the project in a way that works for everyone. … The SFMTA did not intend to impact businesses and I share merchant concerns about ensuring vibrant commercial activity in the short and long term.”

The public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts at 2868 Mission St.