Geary BRT Plan Watered Down to Appease Parking-Obsessed Merchants

by Aaron Bialick : sfstreetsblog – excerpt

Planners are touting a new proposed configuration for Geary Bus Rapid Transit that would forgo bus passing lanes in order to preserve car parking to appease merchants. Separated, center-median bus lanes would be retained, and project backers hope the changes will clear the way for implementation…
The new proposal [PDF], called “Alternative 3 Consolidated,” would run buses in two center lanes between dual medians. But unlike the original Alternative 3, it wouldn’t include passing lanes at stops that allow express BRT buses to pass local buses. Instead, the proposal would include only one “medium” bus service in which stops would be closer together than typical BRT, “but more spaced out compared to the local,” said David Parisi, a consultant working on the project for the SFCTA…
Mar, along with Supervisors Scott Wiener, David Chiu, and David Campos, grilled SFCTA staffers on the snail’s pace of the city’s BRT projects on Geary and Van Ness at a board meeting last week…
Peter Lauterborn, an aide to Mar, said the new “consolidated” proposal would simplify transit service and the street geometry on Geary, as well as help the SFCTA meet its launch target of 2018. “This helps us get over the hurdle of negotiating parking loss in the district, which has been a major sticking point in the past.”…
Although the SFCTA had considered filling in the Geary underpass at Masonic Avenue, planners said that option is no longer being seriously considered as part of the BRT project, citing high costs, though it could happen in the future if funding is devoted to it separately….
The Fillmore Street underpass, however, is still being considered for a fill-in. As the SF Examiner reported last week, Supervisors Mar and London Breed called for a hearing on the feasibility of that project, which would help re-connect the Japantown and Fillmore neighborhoods at an estimated cost of $40 million…

(more)

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