Transit and Safety Treatments Coming to Geary Starting This Week

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San Francisco – The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages all surface transportation in the city including the Municipal Railway (Muni), has begun work on the Geary Rapid Project.

The Geary Rapid Project completed its federal environmental review this summer and parking and traffic changes were legislated by the SFMTA Board on August 21, 2018, paving the way for a better Geary. The project, on Geary and O’Farrell between Stanyan and Market streets, aims to bring much-needed safety improvements and more reliable bus service to one of San Francisco’s busiest corridors. 54,000 daily customers rely on the 38 Geary and 38R Geary Rapid.

"Bringing Geary BRT to San Francisco is another key investment in our transportation infrastructure," said SFMTA Board Chair, Cheryl Brinkman. "Not only will this project improve bus operations, but it improves safety and accessibility for everyone who uses the corridor."

The first set of transit and pedestrian safety improvements will begin this week and are expected to take about four to six weeks. Those include almost two new miles of transit-only lanes in each direction on most blocks between Stanyan and Gough streets. New bicycle markings will also be painted to help cyclists cross Geary at Webster, Steiner and Masonic.

On October 6, bus stops at Masonic, Presidio, Fillmore, Webster and Hyde streets will be relocated or removed to improve transit reliability and efficiency. At Spruce Street, 38R Geary Rapid service will be discontinued, though 38 Geary and 38BX Express service will remain.

"Geary connects multiple neighborhoods from east to west and is the most heavily used bus corridor west of the Mississippi," said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin. "Along with improving service reliability, this project will make Geary a much safer street for all who use it with new signalized crosswalks and enhanced medians."

Geary is one of San Francisco’s high-injury corridors, where people walking are eight times more likely to get hit by a car. In alignment with the City’s “Vision Zero” goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024, intersections will be “daylit” by painting red curb at the corners to increase visibility of people crossing the street, and some intersections will receive painted safety zones, a temporary treatment before pedestrian bulbs are installed.

As a result of transit and safety treatments, some on-street parking will be removed and there will be loading changes in places. The Geary Rapid Project retains 98 percent of parking within two blocks of the corridor.

After the first transit and safety treatments are completed this fall, major construction of the Geary Rapid Project is expected to begin at the end of 2018 and continue until spring 2021. That work includes water and sewer upgrades, roadway repaving, removal of the Steiner Street pedestrian bridge, new signalized crosswalks at Buchanan and Webster streets and bus and pedestrian bulbs.

The Geary Rapid Project team consulted with community members to get feedback on the project design in Summer 2018 including two Open Houses, dozens of stakeholder meetings and a bus stop changes survey. Project feedback included over 400 responses to the bus stop changes survey, feedback forms collected at project Open Houses, feedback provided via email or phone and feedback provided at stakeholder meetings.

“I have been a member of the County Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Council and currently a member of the SFMTA Geary BRT Community Advisory Council,” said Richard Hashimoto, President of the Japantown Merchant Association Board of Directors. “As some of you may know, the Japantown neighborhood has the highest concentration of seniors in the city and I am so pleased that both agencies have listened to our concerns and reinstated crucial rapid stops for the seniors and retained the pedestrian overcrossing at Geary and Webster.”

The Geary Rapid Project is the first of two phases of Bus Rapid Transit planned on Geary. Plans are also underway for the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project, which would bring similar improvements west of Stanyan to 34th Avenue.

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