By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt
Those seeing red over the new transit only “red carpet” lanes along Mission Street are now facing backlash from bus riders.
Led by the advocacy group San Francisco Transit Riders, supporters of the lanes are sounding off by creating a social media campaign called #KeepMissionRed.
The controversial bus and taxi-only lane stretches along Mission Street from 30th to 14th streets, and comes packaged with a number of turn restrictions that have frustrated drivers.
Also, Mission district shop owners the San Francisco Examiner spoke with said they saw a dip in business since the lanes were painted in February.
But Andy Bosselman, a spokesman for the transit riders, said they don’t want to see transit improvements sacrificed.
“The streets we have need to move more people,” Bosselman said. “That means prioritizing transit and bikes. Unfortunately, these changes affect drivers and we know without doubt that drivers are going to scream and holler.”
The 14-Mission and 49-Van Ness, two heavily trafficked commuter lines, are already speeding up because of the lanes, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
Despite the outcry, the red lanes aren’t going anywhere — yet.
“No changes to report at this time,” said Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. But Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes the Mission, has called for community meetings about the lane…
“We have committed to continue to work with Supervisor Campos’ office to coordinate an additional meeting with the community to listen to their concerns and make additional adjustments, if appropriate,” Rose said.
Campos said in a Facebook post that he’s heard from many frustrated Mission district businesses who’ve had problems with loading zones, as well as drivers who’ve seen “traffic jams” since the red lanes were installed.
“The changes look better on paper than in practice,” Campos wrote.
Rose noted that 60 percent of people get to the Mission by transit and only 12 percent by car.
“Riding (Muni) is much faster/smoother with the new transit lanes,” Jamison Wieser, one of the many to sound off using hashtag #KeepMissionRed, posted to Twitter.
Others using the hashtag on Twitter said buses are “key” for low income families.
A survey conducted by the SFMTA before the red lanes were installed found that 63 percent of 500 residents polled were neutral about bus only lanes.
Bosselman said the SFMTA is often hamstrung by public anger.
“The result is that every project gets watered down,” he said, “The entire problem the project tries to solve ends up getting little or none of the intended benefit.”… (more)
SFMTA just announced their number priority is MODE CHANGE. If your number one goal is to stop traffic to force people out of their cars, painting red lanes all over town is essentially a great way to evict cars, and the people in the cars.
If your number one goal is to promote the economic viability of the Mission and avoid displacing the merchants and residents who live in the Mission this plan will not make your happy. Just like every other political argument we have in San Francisco, it all comes down to one thing. Do you support displacement or preservation of our San Francisco culture than celebrate freedom to choose.