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Geary BRT: Upcoming Milestones and Answers to Your Questions

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Gray and red articulated Muni bus traveling east on O'Farrell with the red transit lanes for cable cars in the background and foreground. Pedestrians cross in front of the bus.
A 38 bus traveling east on O'Farrell across Powell Street

As Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) hits a major milestone this week, we’re providing new opportunities to get answers to today’s biggest questions about the project.


On Friday, the Geary BRT Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) will be made available online at the Geary BRT EIR page and at public libraries near the 38 Geary route. The document will include the recommended design option, years of analytical work detailing how the project is expected to affect communities as well as responses to public comments.


The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Board, which is comprised of the SF Board of Supervisors, is set to vote on approval of the Final EIR and the Geary BRT project on January 5. Early improvements will start in 2017.


Learn more about the next steps in our blog post from last month. To stay in the loop on hearing dates and how to give decision-makers your feedback, visit the Geary BRT website. You can also get Geary BRT updates via text message by texting YES to 628-600-1675.


Get Your Geary BRT Questions Answered Tomorrow on Reddit and in Our New FAQ


A black and white line drawing of a Muni bus with the Reddit mascot driving.
The Reddit mascot on a 38 Geary Rapid bus


To help answer your key questions about Geary BRT we and our partners at the SF County Transportation Authority have posted a new Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page and will host a live discussion tomorrow on the online forum Reddit.


Hosting a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (“AMA”) forum is a first for a San Francisco transportation project, but we thought it would be a good way to make sure to reach everyone who travels on Geary regularly.


To participate in the AMA discussion, anyone with a smartphone or computer can create a free Reddit account and login to leave questions or comments for the Geary BRT team. You can also view the discussion without an account.


TeamGeary’s Reddit AMA will take place tomorrow (Wed., Dec. 7) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Check the Reddit post for more details.


FAQ Preview: Rail, Stop Changes and Safety Improvements


Our new FAQ page also addresses some of the biggest questions we hear about Geary BRT.


Below are a few FAQs we selected to address some of the main topics discussed at a forum last month called “Rolling out Geary BRT” hosted by the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR).


A man stands at a lecture, next to a seated panel in front of an audience with two large projector screens behind them.
Last month’s SPUR forum, “Rolling Out Geary BRT”


Why not build rail on Geary?


After early efforts to advance Geary rail in the 1950's and again in the 1980’s were met with neighborhood opposition, San Francisco set its rail priorities on Third and Stockton streets, which led to the construction of the T Third Line and the Central Subway still in progress today. In 2003, the SFTCA and SFMTA started studying BRT on Van Ness and Geary.


Rail on Geary is being considered in long-term planning efforts like the Subway Vision, which is part of Connect SF. It was also identified as a priority in the SFMTA’s Rail Capacity Strategy and 20-Year Capital Plan [PDF].


Depending on how a potential rail line on Geary is designed, BRT could serve as an incremental step towards rail or a complementary transit improvement. In the meantime, BRT will provide faster, reliable bus service.


What are some of the main trade-offs to the proposed changes?


Bus-only lanes and stop removals will be key to making Muni service on Geary quicker and more reliable, but they will require some trade-offs, including:


  • Fewer parking spots in some locations, such as near the Fillmore Bridge and Masonic tunnel.
  • Tree replacement in the Richmond District to construct bus-only lanes and new medians.
  • Fewer stops along Geary bus routes.
    • West of Arguello Boulevard – 34th Avenue: All buses would travel in center-running bus-only lanes and serve all stops. Proposals include two additional rapid stops and five fewer local stops.
    • Market Street – Arguello Boulevard: Local buses would stop more frequently than rapid buses, similar to today.  Proposals along this segment include two fewer rapid stops and six fewer local stops.


While fewer stops may inconvenience some, it would save an average of twenty minutes a day round-trip for the 38 Geary riders who make more than 52,000 trips each day. We continue to work with community members to find solutions to address any concerns.


What about safety improvements for people walking and bicycling?


People crossing Geary are eight times more likely to be injured in traffic than the citywide average. With Vision Zero – our goal to end traffic deaths – our city has deemed this is unacceptable.


Geary BRT will include a suite of design treatments to make Geary safer for people walking and biking. Proposed improvements — shorter crossing distances and better visibility for people who are crossing — would calm traffic in areas with frequent speeding. Bicycle safety treatments are focused on intersections with north-south bicycling routes at Steiner Street, Webster Street and Masonic Avenue.


If you have any follow-up questions for the team, be sure to check out the Reddit AMA and the project’s FAQ page

Visit the Geary BRT website for more information or to contact the project team.