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Mission Rapid Project Community Hearing Summary

Location: Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission Street
Attendees: Approximately 150-200

On June 20 in collaboration with District 9 Supervisor David Campos, the SFMTA held a community hearing on the Mission Rapid Project. The Mission Rapid Project was implemented starting in March 2016 with the dual goals of increasing traffic safety and improving the reliability of Muni. Key elements of the project included red transit-only lanes, turn restrictions and required right turns on Mission Street from 14th Street to 30th Street.

The project was approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors on December 1, 2015 after nearly a year of community outreach. This included several open houses, door to door canvassing of every merchant along the project corridor, dozens of meetings with over 30 different neighborhood groups, and several online and in-person multilingual surveys. Noticing for our meetings involved mailing over 20,000 postcards, hanging signage at transit stops, and handing out thousands of flyers. Prior to implementation additional outreach was conducted to provide details on the construction schedule and roadway changes. A full history of the project, including the outreach and noticing conducted, is available online.

Supervisor Campos and SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin were both in attendance at the meeting held at the Mission Cultural Center. The community hearing afforded an opportunity for the SFMTA and Supervisor Campos to hear from community members about effects of the project, both positive and negative. The forum also enabled attendees to hear different perspectives on how the roadway changes are being perceived by people from the neighborhood, across San Francisco, and from around the Bay Area.  

Below is a summary of the comments from the hearing;

Safety

  • Important to increase the safety for people walking
  • Need to increase safety for riders on Muni buses before focusing on improving roadway safety
  • Transit-only lanes have calmed traffic and the streets feels safer to walk on and cross
  • Study requested to see whether three right turns onto small side streets is more or less safe than one left turn

Businesses Impacts

  • Transit-only lanes are hurting small businesses along the Mission corridor
  • Required right turns and red transit-only lanes affect access to businesses on Mission St
  • The project changes have caused some people to frequent Mission Street more, others less

Transit Benefits

  • Transit-only lanes have shortened commute times for bus riders through the Mission corridor
  • Used to prefer taking BART, but now Muni is the preferred option
  • Bus is showing up on time now, and riders usually don’t have to wait long for a bus to arrive
  • Required right turns are an acceptable trade-off to benefit Muni service on Mission Street
  • Prioritizing one street for transit in the Mission is good given other streets are available for motorists
  • The project is benefiting Muni riders traveling through the Mission more than riders traveling within the Mission

Muni Bus Stop Consolidation

  • Stop consolidation has made the overall trip faster
  • Stop consolidation has made people walk further to catch the bus
  • Concern for seniors and people with disabilities walking further to bus stops

Traffic Impacts

  • Transit-only lanes are making it difficult for those who need to drive because of family or business reasons, such as taking multiple kids to schools, taking care of elderly parents. This combination of trips made transit less practical
  • Signage for required right turns is hard to see at some intersections
  • Taxis should be able to make left turns at Mission Street intersections
  • Study requested to see where cars diverted from Mission Street go and how they can be helped to get to their destination

Neighborhood Impacts

  • Red transit-only lanes will accelerate or lead to further gentrification
  • Required right turn at Cesar Chavez separates the Mission neighborhood and divides the community by creating a psychological and cultural barrier
  • Request for a socioeconomic study of project effects on neighborhood
  • The project may work for new, younger residents in the Mission, but not for long-time residents or seniors

Community Outreach and Project Noticing

  • Project notices were not distributed to a large enough geographic area during the outreach period or prior to implementation
  • More people should have been asked about the proposed changes prior to implementation
  • The SFMTA listened to concerns but did not “hear” them
  • We might have been supportive if we had known about the project in advance, but now have a negative opinion of the project and SFMTA

Evaluation

  • Desire for more before/after traffic studies to understand changes to traffic patterns and whether project is encouraging more people to take the bus

Other Comments

  • Project improvements are only a means to generate more ticket revenue for SFMTA
  • Private commuter shuttle buses are too large for Mission neighborhood streets
  • Rapid buses should travel on South Van Ness, not Mission Street
  • Concern about transit improvements projects in other areas of the city such as Taraval Street and Geary Boulevard
  • Given the strong demand for intra-mission travel, there was a desire to re-introduce Jitney services
  • Mission Cultural Center was not an appropriate venue for the meeting because it did not stay open late enough for the hearing to continue and enable every voice to be heard.

In addition to the Mission community hearing, the SFMTA also received input from emails, social media, 311 and phone. Similar themes were outlined via these channels. To help ensure all views are heard, the SFMTA will conduct an additional round of surveying in the Mission to gather input from neighbors and Muni customers on the Mission Rapid Project. To further assess business impacts, the SFMTA will also conduct another round of merchant walks in coordination with merchant groups to discuss how the changes are being received by businesses along and near the corridor.

To provide further input please contact muniforward@sfmta.com.