Mission Street update and FAQ

Project Update

Each day tens of thousands of people make their way to the Mission to shop, eat, work, access services, or visit friends and family. The district is beloved by so many—both as a home and a destination for locals and visitors alike. At the SFMTA, it’s our priority to make sure it’s easy, affordable and accessible for everyone to get to and from the Mission, no matter how they choose to travel.

Whether you’re walking, biking, driving or taking Muni, we’ll work to get you there safely and reliably.

That was, and still is undoubtedly the goal for the 14 Mission Rapid Project. With 65,000 people taking Muni to and from the Mission each day, we worked to improve the reliability of Muni’s 14R, 14 and 49 lines and enhance safety for everyone walking in the neighborhood.

We recognize this project was a big change for the Mission, and it’s our priority to make it work for everyone. Already we’ve made several changes to enhance the project and make traffic flow more smoothly. We will be recommending a few more changes to improve traffic circulation, which will be heard at the next SFMTA Board of Directors meeting. The SFMTA commits to continuing to monitor Mission Street to ensure the project goals are achieved.

Mission Street Changes at SFMTA Board
August 16, 2016
Mission item will be heard at 3:00 PM
City Hall Room 400
If you are unable to attend, submit comments to MTABoard@sfmta.com.

The following changes will be recommended for legislation by the SFMTA Board of Directors:

  • Removing two of the required right turns on Mission at 26th and 22nd. This will allow vehicles to travel four blocks on Mission before encountering a required right turn, making it easier to access businesses and find parking along the street. We expect this change to improve traffic circulation without increasing through traffic or delaying bus riders.
  • Relocating the outbound Cortland stop to the nearside of the intersection. Moving the bus stop nearside will improve boarding ease for Muni riders.
  • Exempting taxis from the left turn restriction at 21st Street. This exemption, in the middle of the Mission corridor, will provide more options for taxis to reach their destinations.

The recommended changes are the result of a series of community engagement activities to discuss how the new street design is being perceived by neighborhood residents, bus riders, motorists and others using Mission Street. Staff worked closely with community members, Muni riders, neighborhood organizations and other non-profit organizations, as well as David Campos, District 9 Supervisor. Outreach activities included several small group discussions, a community hearing (summary of comments heard is available here), merchant walks and an intercept survey of 1,400 people on Mission Street.

View the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information about the project.

FAQ about the 14 Mission Rapid Project:


Why change Mission Street?

Transportation wasn’t working on Mission Street. Mission Street is Muni’s second highest ridership corridor, with 65,000 daily riders, 80% of whom are low-income or minority riders. Mission Street was also a designated high injury corridor which means historically pedestrian and auto collisions were more common than compared to other streets in San Francisco. It was also Muni’s highest collision corridor, with an average of three Muni-related collisions a week.

Nearly 85% of people access Mission by bus or by foot, yet the street wasn’t working for them. Muni service was slow and unreliable, and riders commented that the bus stopped too frequently. The travel lanes were also too narrow, which meant Muni vehicles had to straddle two lanes to travel.

Our goals with changing Mission Street were to address these issues to improve Muni service and safety for all.


What are the benefits of the project?

Safer roadway:

  • Reduced Muni collisions by 85 percent. There were only seven Muni related collisions in the project corridor since March 27. During the same period last year, there were 45 Muni related collisions.
  • No change to pedestrian and auto collisions on Mission Street compared to prior to the project. While it is too early to make a conclusion, there has been no improvement or worsening of collisions on Mission Street.
  • 81 percent of people surveyed post-implementation who regularly walk or take transit to the Mission stated they feel safer or just as safe as they did before the transit and roadway changes were made.*

Muni Reliability:

  • On average, the buses are traveling through the corridor about 2 minutes faster in each direction. However, people are perceiving their trip to be on average 10 min faster since the bus is spending less time delayed and getting more green lights.
  • Three additional minutes are expected to be saved with completion of remaining scope, which includes transit-only lanes from 30th to Randall and South Van Ness to Division.
  • Muni reliability has improved resulting in fewer gaps and more predictable arrival times.

*June/July 2016 Mission Street Intercept Survey Report


What are users of Mission Street saying about the project?

We surveyed visitors and residents along Mission Street following the changes. Of 1,400 people surveyed, over 75 percent were supportive or neutral of the project. 78 percent report visiting the Mission District just as often or more since the roadway changes were made. Nearly two-thirds agreed that the transit and roadway changes either maintained or improved access to local businesses. Over three-quarters of respondents stated that they feel safe or safer as pedestrians since the changes. Responses from the 13 percent of respondents that were motorists indicate that more than half find it difficult to access to Mission Street.

View the full intercept survey report.


What feedback have you received from Muni riders?

We’ve heard from customers that their experience riding Muni has improved:

  • Transit-only lanes have reduced travel times
  • Prefer taking Muni over BART now
  • The bus is on time more often
  • 61 percent of Muni riders surveyed post-implementation reported a perception of improved Muni speed and reliability since the changes, indicating a percieved average travel time savings of 10 minutes per trip.*
  • 84 percent of Muni riders surveyed post-implementation either support or feel neutral about the project.*

We have also heard that Mission feels safer to walk now because the project has calmed traffic.

  • 81 percent of people surveyed post-implementation who regularly walk or take transit to the Mission stated they feel safer or just as safe as they did before the transit and roadway changes were made.*

*June/July 2016 Mission Street Intercept Survey Report


What feedback have you received from drivers?

During the first few weeks after implementation we observed traffic congestion and received negative feedback from drivers that the required right turns were confusing and leading to backups from turning vehicles. We immediately took action to address those concerns.

We have also heard the following from drivers:

  • The required right turns make it difficult to access businesses along the corridor and find parking.
  • 13 percent of people surveyed post-implementation indicated driving is their typical mode to access Mission (this was the same percentage as before the project).*
    • Of the 13 percent of drivers, two-thirds describe driving through the Mission as more difficult than before, with 68 percent perceiving more difficulty in finding parking.*

*June/July 2016 Mission Street Intercept Survey Report


What feedback have you received from merchants?

In summer 2015, staff conducted door to door merchant canvassing to gather information on parking and loading needs and to share project information, reaching 85% of businesses. Prior to implementation in February 2016, another round of door-to-door canvassing took place to update merchants on the implementation timeline and share staff contact information. 95 percent of merchants were reached.

Following implementation, staff walked door-to-door to speak to merchants and gather input on things that could be modified or improved. Slightly over twenty percent of merchants interviewed expressed concern that the changes were negatively affecting sales based on a door-to-door survey of Merchants in April. More recently, staff visited merchants to continue discussions about the perceptions of the project, of these merchants nearly all mentioned that more parking could address the drop in sales.

We have also heard the following from merchants and residents:

  • Red transit-only lanes will accelerate or lead to gentrification, displacement
  • The required right turn at Cesar Chavez divides the neighborhood


What have you done to improve the 14 Mission Rapid Project thus far?

Projects of this complexity often require adjustments following implementation. SFMTA has been quick to respond and address issues by implementing the following changes:

  • Extended the northbound red carpet at Cesar Chavez to improve traffic flow for all roadway users, improve muni reliability and improve safety
  • Added safe hit posts at Cesar Chavez to improve safety and reliability for Muni
  • Implemented a dedicated right turn signal phase at Cesar Chavez to reduce roadway congestion
  • Added additional No Left Turn signs at Cesar Chavez to improve safety
  • Installed a straight green arrow in the southbound direction at Cesar Chavez to improve safety and clarity of no left turns
  • Adjusted sign placement along the corridor for better visibility
  • Adjusted signal timing at 16th/Capp and Cesar Chavez/South Van Ness to reduce roadway congestion
  • Added new left turn phases at Valencia and 29th streets to improve pedestrian safety and reduce roadway congestion
  • Posted large electronic signage to inform motorists of new traffic configuration
  • Found new locations for Mobile Food Vendors on Mission Street


What changes will you be making to further improve traffic flow?

To address additional concerns we heard while still achieving the project goals, we will be recommending for legislation by the SFMTA Board of Directors the following changes to the project:

  • Removing two of the required right turns on Mission at 26th and 22nd. This will allow vehicles to travel four blocks on Mission before encountering a required right turn, making it easier to access businesses and find parking along the street. We expect this change to improve traffic circulation without increasing through traffic or delaying bus riders.
  • Relocating the outbound Cortland stop to the nearside of the intersection. Moving the bus stop nearside will improve boarding ease for Muni riders.
  • Exempting taxi’s from the left turn restriction at 21st Street. This exemption, in the middle of the Mission corridor, will provide more options for taxis to reach their destinations.


Why aren’t you removing the required right turn at Cesar Chavez?

We heard many requests to remove the required right turn at Cesar Chavez Street, which some feel acts as a barrier to two neighborhoods. This was a difficult decision. Doing so would make traffic and transit performance worse on northbound Mission Street than before the project was implemented because one lane of traffic was removed.

The required turn at Cesar Chavez diverts drivers who drive through Mission toward downtown. Instead, we will address community concerns by removing two of the required right turns at 26th and 22nd to improve access to destinations along Mission without congesting the street with traffic looking for a fast way downtown.


What are you doing to address merchant concerns?

To address merchant concerns, we are working with partner agencies and the community on the following efforts:

  • Additional wayfinding and signage to direct motorists to SFMTA parking garages. The utilization of on-street parking remains high; however, the two neighborhood parking garages have the ability to serve many more customers: Mission-Bartlett (350 total spaces) occupancy is 64 percent during the day and 80 percent in the evening, 16th & Hoff (98 spaces) is similar with occupancy at 68 percent during the day and 80 percent in the evening.
  • Marketing the Mission Corridor: In coordination with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, we are identifying ways to promote the Mission Corridor to highlight the unique resources in the neighborhood and provide information on the various transportation options to access the area. 
  • Installation of safety and greening treatments on Mission Street south of Cesar Chavez. Improvements will enhance the character of the Mission-Bernal neighborhood, improve safety for pedestrians, and add opportunities to build community.
  • Exploring with OEWD and Mission merchants the possibility of extending meter time limits, expanding the use of the SFMTA garage parking validation program, and other means to maximize the parking supply available in the neighborhood.


What outreach did you do before the project was constructed?

The final project design was the result of an extensive community outreach process that involved several open houses in the Mission, door-to-door canvassing of nearly every merchant along the corridor, meetings with over 30 different neighborhood groups, and several online and in-person multilingual surveys.

Two design options were presented during the outreach process:

  • Repurpose a parking lane to create north and southbound transit-only lanes
  • Preserve both parking lanes, create a southbound transit-only lane with a mixed-use northbound lane, requiring northbound private vehicles to turn right at six intersections


What feedback did you receive during outreach?

We heard from a wide range of community members during the process and, overall, people were supportive of our goals to make transit better. Our survey results and conversations with riders favored the two transit-only lane option, but we heard from merchants the importance of preserving parking on the street. In order to strike a balance and meet a variety of needs, we recommended to our Board of Directors the second option, which would still accomplish the goals of improving safety and Muni reliability.


When was the project approved?

The project was approved by the SFMTA Board in December 2015. We began construction in February 2016 and wrapped up by May 2016.