Red Lane Experiments

Where does the SFMTA get the right to put Red transit-only Lanes on Mission Street and how do we get rid of them if we don’t like them?

Caltrans CTCDC, (California Traffic Control Devices Committee) authorizes “experiments” on public streets. One of the Geary merchants attended one of their meetings on March 3, 2016 and expressed his concern over the red lane experiments. Since that meeting, many San Francisco citizens have written letters to the CTCDC opposing them.

Authority Questions : It seems that SFMTA does not have the right to just paint the streets red at will. The right to conduct experiments on our public streets is granted by CTCDC and comes with conditions, including requirements for timely execution and analysis of the effects of the tests.

Questions regarding the tests areas: When CTCDC Chair Greenwood inquired as to whether the installation of the red transit lanes had expanded beyond the areas approved by the committee Mr. White replied that the installation had been used specifically in the 24/7 lanes rather than the part-time lanes. I’m Not sure what that means, but, he went on to say the only place where the lanes had been expanded beyond those shown on the map was Market Street from Fifth to Third, for consistency.

Why did Mr. White fail to mention the red transit-only lanes on Mission Street south of 16th Street?  According to the map and list of allowable streets I have seen, this portion of Mission Street is not included in the experimental areas. We are looking forward to a December 6 meeting with the CTCDC in Sacramento. More on that later…(more)

Muni’s $2.4 Million Mission Transformation Saves 2 Minutes, Costs Shopkeepers More

Phil Matier : cbslocal – excerpt – (video)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco’s plan for Muni in the Mission District promised to speed up commutes, but the time saved has come at a startling cost: a million dollars a minute…

For the past five months crews have been busy remaking 23 blocks of Mission Street to make it more bus friendly, putting transit only lanes, taking out parking and rerouting traffic.

The price tag on the project? $2.4 million.

Muni says the transformation will save commuters about two minutes.

Local business owners say the money, along with the time saved, is just not worth it.

“We support better service for Muni riders, but this is basically hurting the businesses and the economic vitality of this community,” says Roberto Hernandez of the Mission Merchants Association.

The trouble is faster buses also means fewer cars coming in to shop.

Take, for example, the busy intersection at Cesar Chavez Boulevard.

“They created what we are calling the “Trump wall” – people cannot drive onto Mission street. They are forced to make a right-hand turn,” says Hernandez.

Drivers are forced to go around the block to get back on Mission Street. No sooner than you get back on Mission, you’re ordered off again, and the again , and still again…

“What it has done is stopped people from coming onto Mission Street,” says Hernandez. “Consequently, for over 300 businesses revenue has dropped drastically over the last five months.

City Hall feels the time-saving project is worth it…(more)

If you don’t agree with City Hall that “it’s ok to spend 2.4 million dollars to save 2 minutes”, cut off the normal flow of traffic on a busy commercial cross-town street, put hundreds  businesses and employees at risk, force elderly and young people to walk longer distances to catch more crowded buses with less seats, support Proposition L, the SFMTA Charter Amendment, that calls for changes on the SFMTA Board. Get the details and join the campaign:



SFMTA approves changes to Mission Street transit improvements in response to merchant complaints

Merchant concerns only half of Muni battle

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

On the surface, a meeting in the Mission District on Monday night was meant for the community to weigh in on new “red carpet” bus-only lanes on Mission Street. The lanes rolled out in February and stretch from 14th to 30th streets.

But the meeting exploded.

“A woman got hit by a car on Cesar Chavez!” shouted Roberto Hernandez, a community advocate often called the “Mayor of the Mission.”

Hernandez decried transit officials for allowing the new red lanes to cause traffic mayhem, not reaching out enough to residents and for hurting small businesses in his life-long home.

Half of the meeting’s 200 attendees cheered in support. The other half howled for Hernandez to stop.

In the crowd, two men stood within a few inches of each other’s faces, pointing and shouting.

This same scene has played out at recent Geary Boulevard and Taraval Street transportation meetings and may soon play out at West Portal, too.

Merchants from those neighborhoods were present for the Mission meeting as well.

A tide of merchant and neighborhood resentment is rising against the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency — and they’re now banding together for support.

“I think it’s real clear a citywide coalition is in the formation and building to really address how we need to put a stop to the way [the SFMTA] is planning,” Hernandez told the San Francisco Examiner on Wednesday.

And in small ways, those merchants are winning… (more)

Continue reading

MTA Impact on Mission Bernal – My perspective


Walk, Bike, Bus, or drive to support Mission Street Small Business

Two months ago, MTA reconstructed Mission Street, introducing red transit lanes and forced right turns. The bus is running two to five minutes faster, but I have observed a decrease in pedestrian traffic and clientele, especially for daytime businesses. My business is not only a go-to for locals, but a destination for people from all over. The forced right-hand turns funnel drivers away from shopping and local restaurants, making it harder for our customers to show up and support us. This is a direct call to our customers to walk, bike, take public transit, or drive to support local businesses impacted along Mission Street.

My specific concerns for Mission Bernal are to make sure it is safe for pedestrians, residents, and our valued customers. A request has been made to MTA to put in protected left turn signals at 29th and Valencia, remove the right hand turn at Cesar Chavez, and review positions of new bus stops. I am concerned that the Mission-Powers bus stop is not well-lit and is located in front of a preschool. My other concern is when it rains the red paint is causing the buses difficulty in stopping. I have seen the buses slide through the intersection at 29th Street on the red light because they are slipping on the red lanes. This is a safety concern for our whole community. I support public transit, but not at the cost of safety or small business. I am for finding a balance that works for all us.

My grandparents owned a storefront for over 40 years in Philadelphia. Their legacy business was one of the things that inspired me to open Secession Art and Design in an emerging area of the Mission in 2007. Mission Street has been home to my gallery and boutique for 9 years, supporting over 60 local and independent artists and designers. Businesses along Mission Street all want the chance to be legacy businesses, and live out our dream that small business can thrive in San Francisco. This is why I became president of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, so my neighborhood would have a passionate point person who lives and works in Mission Bernal.

I have attended many MTA meetings,sometimes closing my store to make sure my voice is heard. A happy medium needs to happen, so small businesses aren’t forced to shut down. I want to continue my grandparent’s legacy of doing what I love everyday being the owner of a small business. I’m working to help Mission Street culture return back to its vibrant and artistic hustle.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive, encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and speak up for my community, and reminded me to be strong and love what I do!

You rock, Eden

Secession Art & Design • Owner & Curator
3235 Mission St.,SF, CA 94110
Gallery & Boutique open Tues-Sun: Noon-7pm


Fight Over Mission Street Transit-Only Lanes Still Red-Hot

The $3.8 million SFMTA project designating lanes on Mission Street bus- and taxi-only, a system used on Market Street and other thoroughfares, was enacted with the stated goal of reducing congestion and transit times while increasing safety. It’s still too soon to know what the long-term effects of the changes, which SFMTA Transit Director John Haley called “exciting stuff” during their inception, will be, but the reduction of parking on Mission Street has become a red-hot issue for local residents and businesses.

Drivers, naturally, have made their objections known, and small business owners have also argued that the limits on parking have driven customers away. The controversy has yet to cool off: Last night, many critics met with the SFMTA board of directors, where the rhetoric grew purple.

“This is just one more act of violence that the people in the Mission feel,” Mission Local quotes one resident, Mary Eliza. “When their primary street, with the district name on it, is violated in this way without really taking into consideration the needs of the community, you’re going to have a problem.”

“They’re not going to come back,” Eden Stein, the owner of Secession Art & Design on Mission Street, told the meeting. “From 16th to Randall there has been a loss of business, and a lot of businesses can’t wait months for changes to happen. Businesses are going to close down. We need some action.”… (more)

I attended the community meetings with staff after the red paint went down on the Mission Street and the forced turns turned the street into a nightmare. Both Reiskin and Campos were at the first meeting where I asked what the Mission Street project cost. I was told $6 million dollars. I asked how much it cost to add a bus line to the route and was told $1. I suggested a better way to serve the Muni riders with less negative effects on everyone else would be to put more buses into service. As it is now, the buses rolling down the red carpet, are packed to the gills. Standing room only. That brings me to wonder just how fast buses should go with standing passengers. That leads me to question the need to speed up the buses on Mission Street.

You can see by the amount of animosity evident in the comments and the negative reception SFMTA staff are facing in other neighborhood meetings, (we heard hissing and booing in the Sunset), that the invasion of an entire neighborhood is not going to be ignored by anyone in San Francisco any more. Residents may have been sitting ducks for a while but now they are perking up and noticing each little change they see and most of them are freaking out over anything they don’t like.

The time has come to demand SFMTA roll back the red carpet and paint it black. They need to pave and fix the potholes in the street before they lay any more paint or pour any more concrete. All MODES are effected negatively by the potholes, so they can use their bike funds to fix the the potholes before they paint any more bike paths.

More Criticism of Mission Street’s “Red Carpet”

By millionlocal – excerpt

A business owner lambasted the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority’s Board of Directors on Tuesday, saying traffic changes along Mission Street have cost her business and threatening closures. Neighborhood residents at the meeting called the changes a form of violence.

The changes include transit-only lanes and many left turn turn restrictions, plus forced right turns at certain intersections.

Eden Stein, who owns Secession Art & Design on Mission Street near Fair Avenue,said it is taking her customers 90 minutes to park or to get up and down Mission Street.

“They’re not going to come back,” Stein told the board. “From 16th to Randall there has been a loss of business, and a lot of businesses can’t wait months for changes to happen. Businesses are going to close down. We need some action.”… (more)

Thanks for covering this meeting at the SFMTA. There are a couple of items I would like to add to this report. A number of taxi drivers were concerned about the lack of left turns on Mission Street that they were told they would be allowed to make. It goes without saying that extending the time of the cab rides makes the ride more expensive for the rider, and that puts the taxi service in further jeopardy when they are already failing. Taxi representatives also expressed dismay at the new taxi fees and pointed out that there is no market for the new expensive medallions the SFMTA has decided to sell. No one in their right mind would finance a risky deal that shows no profit potential. Raising the medallion price killed that business, much as they SFMTA and their supporters are killing the businesses on Mission Street. Do you see a trend there?

A couple of physical issues were raised by professional taxi/truck drivers. It seems that instead of repairing the road and patching the potholes, which would help bikers and buses more than anything else, the red paint was just laid down on the street on top of the badly decomposing road surface. We agree. Patch the roads first. When you have huge potholes in the street, drivers, including bikes, must swerve to avoid them. This creates potential problems for people who don’t see the reason for the swerve and can’t predict them.

A former truck driver suggested the SFMTA should use the kind of material used on highways to patch the roads under the red lanes since they will be getting all of the heavy usage of the machines that do the most damage to the streets. You do not want buses running over potholes.

At least one merchant around Randal commented on the leftover bulbouts when the bus stops are moved. This is an obvious tool to remove parking spaces that has not gone unnoticed. They put in those $!50k + bulbouts to remove parking spaces and then move them to take out more parking. They then take the parking meters that they are removing and attempt to install them in other neighborhoods. This is your freindly SFMTA that is so good at patting itself on the back while harassing the taxpayers and laughing all the way to the bank.

There is a way to stop them but that involves convincing the Board of Supervisors to take control and protect your interests.


The new red transit-only lanes on Mission Street in San Francisco have neighbors seeing red.

By Amy Hollyfield: KGO – excerpt  (video)

The plan to help speed up Muni isn’t even a month old yet and it may be facing major alterations already. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, officials are going to talk about making changes because of the response to the new lane.
It is meant for Muni buses and taxi cabs only… (more)

Mission merchants and residents have been loud and clear in their complaints and demands and City Hall is listening. Now is not the time to mess with the Mission. when evictions and killings are at an all time high. The number one concern is displacement and high rents.

Almost all the local TV stations are reporting this reversal so it must be true.

Mission Street Mess


At a meeting attended by District 9 Supervisor Campos, MTA Director Ed Reiskin and staff, and more than a dozen Mission community leaders, Reiskin acknowledged the SFMTA got it wrong on Mission Street. Mission leaders requested a public apology and a big community meeting to allow the public an opportunity to chime in on what they want. Stay tuned for the results on that one. Supervisor Campos promised to set up meetings with local leaders to discus remedies.

The good news is that Leo’s Hot Dog Stand is staying put and the general consensus is that the SFMTA should remove the forced turns on Mission Street. As most of us who live in the neighborhood know, few people use Mission Street as a thoroughfare.

Suddenly adding forced turns every couple of blocks, has created more confusion and difficulty for drivers forced to turn their attention to yet one more problem, and made the streets less safe. Already, merchants have heard from customers and clients who apologize but say they can’t do business there any more. If the goal is to clear the street of existing businesses, the SFMTA has succeeded.

Threats of painting out the red lines and such other radical moves have been heard on the street. This is not a time to mess with the Mission as the residents and merchants are already under intense pressures to leaves the area by developers who want to displace them.

The red lanes add to the ominous threat of gentrification hanging in the air that brings large groups of protestors to the Planning Commission to fight market rate development in the Mission. One of the Spanish speaking community leaders struck a chord when she said the red lanes are “another Monster in the Mission.” Those words may become the next battle cry to stop the SFMTA projects.

Along with a lot of complaints about the horrible conditions on Mission Street and the already devastating effects the changes have had on the Mission merchants, there were some positive suggestions.

Questions about money were raised. The SFMTA plans to spend six million dollars to “improve” Mission Street in ways that obviously are not supported by the neighborhood. The problem that the Muni riders have is that the buses are over-crowded. Cutting bus stops and forcing cars onto side streets does not relieve crowding on buses. Adding a bus to an existing line costs around 1 million dollars. Why, it was asked, can the SFMTA not just add a few more buses to the crowded lines to relieve the crowding instead?

Many people want to bring back jitneys and some suggest that the express bus lines should be moved to South Van Ness or some less crowded street. There was a lot of talk about surveys taken of Muni riders and merchants, but no mention of surveys of drivers. How can you leave drivers out of the equation.

One community leader suggested looking at how the City of Los Angeles put together a red lane plan for Wilshire Blvd. in LA with a tremendous amount of citizen input. Suepervisor Campos echoed the thoughts of many when he said we need a plan by the neighborhood not a plan laid on the neighborhood.

The results of this emergency meetings are that the community will immediately convene with Campos’ staff and the MTA to work out a plan that will not devastate the Mission. There are also immediate calls for a public apology and immediate halt of enforcement of the forced turns off Mission street.

There are also plans for a wider Mission District Community meeting to air grievances and listen to ideas from the community.


Big changes coming to the busy lanes of S.F.’s Mission Street

By  Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

Change is no stranger to the Mission District, and this time it’s the main drag — Mission Street — and the heavily ridden Muni lines that are set for transformation.

The bustling thoroughfare is gaining some red transit-only lanes, while losing a lane of traffic, in a bid to clear out many cars — especially double-parkers — and speed up buses that is reminiscent of transit-first efforts in other parts of the city, including Market Street downtown.

The shifts, which cover a 2½-mile stretch of Mission, begin Saturday, when Muni pares back what it considers an inefficient series of bus stops by eliminating 13 stops serving three bus lines — the 14-Mission, 14R-Mission Rapid and 49-Van Ness/Mission — and adding one.

Public-works crews will also break out paint and brushes and start adding red transit-only lanes between 11th and Randall streets… (more)

more millions of dollars poured into projects that bus riders and residents do not support and object to for vigorously. As one citizen pointed out, by eliminating bust stops the SFMTA is putting people at greater risk by forcing people to walk longer distances in dangerous neighborhoods. The are also making it more difficult for people who have health or physical problems. Not everyone is needs more exercise. Some people can barely get where they need to go as it is.