Just back from the Geary Bus Rapid Transit meeting where Supervisor Eric Mar co-hosted with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. The public meeting was held to review the current phase of the planned transportation project for Geary Boulevard with residents, merchants and other concerned citizens.
Roughly seventy people attended the two hour meeting that kicked off with an open house, allowing attendees to view boards outlining the proposed BRT as well as other ongoing transit projects. After a short introduction by Supervisor Eric Mar, Zabe Bent, Principal Transportation Planner from the County of San Francisco Transportation Authority presented to the audience. Her powerpoint presentation was informative, outlining the goals of the BRT, where they are in their planning, anticipated impacts on the neighborhood, as well as expected improvements to transit times and pedestrian safety from the multi-year project.
Some interesting factoids that came out from the meeting… A study by the SFCTA found that the 38 Geary buses that run along the boulevard are actually in motion for less than half their travel time. That means as a rider, you spend just as much time sitting on the bus or waiting for one as you actually do traveling to your destination.
Attendees review informational boards about the BRT and other transit projects
Currently wait times for the 38 Geary line can range from 1 minute to 20 minutes. One of the main objectives of the BRT is to regulate and reduce the transit times, with an ultimate goal of a 38 bus being available every 3 minutes, and reducing the overall travel time from downtown to the Ocean by 8 minutes. Current schedules show BRT construction beginning in 2013, with initial service beginning in 2015.
This latest phase of the project will evaluate potential street designs for the BRT, which would convert one lane on each side of the street into a dedicated bus lane from Van Ness/Gough Street all the way out 33rd Avenue. Three designs are being considered: a side-running BRT, a center BRT with a side median/platform, and a center BRT with a center platform/median. Click the flyer below for more detailed drawings and explanations, including a diagram detailing the three distinct segments of the project. Improvements will be made from 33rd Avenue to the ocean, but will not include the dedicated bus lanes.
SFCTA project manager Zabe Bent and Supervisor Eric Mar take questions from the crowd
Which design the SFCTA ultimately recommends in the fall of 2010 depends on the outcome of several studies, including one to study the anticipated traffic spillover into neighboring streets both during multi-year of construction of the BRT, as well as after the project is complete. As many residents voiced during the Q&A portion of the meeting, there are great concerns about the added traffic loads on neighboring streets like Anza, Balboa, Cabrillo and California. Many attendees just didn’t believe the conservative estimates presented by Ms. Bent that projected increases of .3 – 3 cars per minute on side streets. As one resident pointed out, even an additional 1.5 cars per minute on a neighboring block would result in 100 cars per hour.
Other concerns from attendees included the impact on Geary Boulevard businesses during construction, the potential compounded impact on traffic with the upcoming Doyle Drive project (note that current project dates would have the two projects running back to back, not overlapping), and the impact on bicycle traffic. The BRT does not plan on adding dedicated bike lanes to Geary Boulevard except along the very short stretch from Masonic to Presidio. Bike traffic will continue to be diverted to neighboring streets like Cabrillo and Fulton where there are dedicated bike lanes.
For more information on the Geary BRT, visit http://gearybrt.org. If you’re interested in becoming more involved with the BRT project on a regular basis, the SFCTA holds monthly, citizen advisory committee meetings on the last Thursday of every month. This month’s meeting is this Thursday, July 30 at the CTA offices, 100 Van Ness Avenue, 26th Floor at 6pm.
Examing BRT on Geary Boulevard – click to enlarge
10:11 pm | Posted under Business, Community, Traffic | 7 comments