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Jul-27-2009

Geary BRT meeting well attended


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.

Sarah B.


Examing BRT on Geary Boulevard – click to enlarge

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10:11 pm | Posted under Business, Community, Traffic | 7 comments
  1. David said (07/29/09; 8:25 am):

    After attending more than 10 meetings and hearing the same concerns with no action it is frustrating. It has always been about a sales job not a public meeting for interchange of ideas. Agreed there is no actual overlap planned for the two projects,back to back is still not the greatest. I am a firm believer in transit and bikes,crikey can’t we change the bus routes and priority for busses first without putting the house of bagels etc out of business?
    The most infuriating part of this is the smug attitude I see at these meetings.Simple courtesy- repeat the question, so others can hear it. (How many times did we ask for that?)acknowledge the concerns give people some hope their voice matter by reflecting changes in the projects. No, we are racing ahead programmed to give the answers and are not listening- I do not care someone’s office is next to another so somehow that makes things ok -that is the impression- and reason- to move the decision on this project to the ballot box again.

  2. Chris said (07/30/09; 1:15 am):

    I attended the meeting and promptly remembered why I stopped going to these things years ago and just started emailing my thoughts directly to the supervisors and others. The only people that show up and ask questions are those that are convinced that any change will result in armageddon. As witnessed by David’s post above, IN SPITE OF the fact that improvements on Geary have been demanded time and time again at the ballot box, he wants this to go to the ballot box again, simply because he’s not getting his way. Too often, folks around here that go to these meetings think that, “Well, they’re not doing what I’m asking for, so clearly they’re not listening!”

    I’m (along with dozens of my friends) going to stick with sending direct correspondence to the correct folks in government rather than go to another one of these b@#%fests completely controlled by selfish folks unwilling to listen or consider that change could (and will be) good.

  3. Joe said (08/3/09; 10:39 am):

    The simple fact that its going to take till 2015 to implement BRT is insane – anyone who doesnt see that has ulterior motives.
    You will never get consensus in San Francisco. All planning processes that are open to the public will be delayed ad nauseum while differing takes on NIMBYism are displayed.
    Exactly how much money has been spent placating ONE single naysayer ? The 38 Geary moves more people daily than any bus line west of the Mississippi and studies show the riders spend less than 50% of the time moving – and STILL calls for more delays?
    It’s time to realize that some things are just about a persons sense of control – and some people will never be happy with things. Grow a pair SF, and just recognize that some people need to shut up and get out of the way of progress for the city as a whole.

  4. San Francisco Real Estate: “The Scoop” » Blog Archive » Progress on Geary BRT Almost as Agonizingly Slow as the 38 said (08/10/09; 4:35 pm):

    [...] Get Where You’re Going Faster [SFist] · Geary BRT Meeting Well-Attended [Richmond SF Blog] · The Bus Rapid Transit Battle of Geary in San Francisco [Triple Pundit] · [...]

  5. Jonathan said (08/11/09; 5:20 pm):

    What we really need is an extensive underground metro system. Since it is clear that is going to happen for a while, let’s put in the bus lane and be done with it. People will appreciate it once they have it, and in 10 years after it is operating, people will start to think about how nice it would be to have an underground muni metro line.

  6. localsonly said (08/13/09; 12:52 pm):

    I prefer the center running brt with side platforms which will not require special buses and which, through the use of the twin outside medians, will allow for ample tree and foliage planting along the outsides of the right of way, thus reducing visual blight, increasing space for trees etc, resulting in noise reduction as well. This option also give the max separation of BRT from traffic lanes creating the most distinctly exclusive right of way. By planting trees on both outside medians, by the time the trees mature and the right of way is ready to be converted to light rail someday, the will be plenty of foliage in place to effectively hide future catenary and noise from the adjacent properties.

  7. Laurie said (08/30/09; 8:51 pm):

    The problem is not with the 38 line in the Richmond. It’s with the stops east of Masonic. I suggest we leave the Richmond alone; otherwise it will divert traffic to the side streets that are incapable of handling them. If we go down this route, we will be wasting lots of money and won’t see any improvements.

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