19 Polk on 7th and 8th Streets Transit Improvements (Formerly Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes)
The public hearing for this project took place at the SFMTA Board meeting on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, where it was approved for permanent implementation.
See the staff presentation and report from the board meeting for more details.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, the SFMTA focused on maintaining a core service network serving essential workers and those who depend on Muni for essential trips. To avoid overcrowding and ensure frequency of service, we began implementing Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes on key routes at locations where traffic bottlenecks occur. Portions of the 19 Polk route were chosen for the implementation of these temporary treatments, based on observed travel time improvements and ridership levels.
The 19 Polk, a key north-south connector in San Francisco, showed up to 35% travel time savings during the shelter-in-place, when there was significantly less car traffic, particularly on 7th and 8th streets.
After presenting an initial plan to the SFMTA Board for approval in June 2020, a virtual community meeting was held in August 2020 to gather feedback about the 19 Polk proposal. Subsequently, based on public input, monitoring of transit speeds and traffic conditions and the experience we had with temporary lanes installed in other parts of the City, our team prioritized implementation of key segments of the project.
In summer 2021, we undertook an evaluation of the effectiveness of these changes to determine whether there was support for making them permanent. This included a community survey in addition to technical evaluation metrics.
You can view our on-demand presentation anytime to learn about the evaluation of this project.
Improvements were implemented on 8th Street in October 2020 and due to existing construction, transit lanes were implemented on portions of 7th Street beginning in summer 2020. The right lane closest to the curb was converted to a temporary transit lane on 7th Street between Townsend and Mission streets and 8th Street between Market and Bryant streets. These lanes were striped with white paint and “Bus/Taxi Only” stenciling and signage only, making them easily reversible.
On January 18, 2022, the SFMTA Board of Directors permanently approved the full-time transit lanes on 7th and 8th streets, as well as a 'right lane must turn right' on 7th Street at Townsend. For more details, check out the staff presentation and report from the board meeting.