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38 Geary Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes

Project Introduction
Update: Geary Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes were approved in fall 2020 and installation of the lanes is expected to be completed in winter 2020/21.

As traffic congestion returns, the SFMTA is working to protect San Franciscans who continue to rely on Muni to get to work and essential appointments during this pandemic. If just a fraction of the people riding transit before the crisis begin driving alone, traffic congestion will be so severe that it could paralyze the city’s economic recovery. Without action, transit-dependent San Franciscans will bear the costs of traffic congestion, like an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 on slower, more crowded buses.

The 38 Geary and 38R Geary Rapid have been a lifeline for essential trips during the pandemic and have experienced crowding despite increased service. Along with other key locations across the city, chosen based on current ridership and travel time data, the SFMTA is installing temporary emergency transit lanes on segments of the 38 Geary and 38R Geary Rapid Muni routes to keep buses out of traffic and reduce crowding and travel times.  By reducing delay from congestion, Muni can use its limited resources to provide more frequent service and pick up more passengers with the same number of buses. 

Proposed Geary Boulevard Transit Priority Treatments 

Map showing locations of proposed temporary transit lanes, Muni head start traffic signals, and temporary transit bulbs Temporary transit lanes have been approved along the following segments of Geary Boulevard:

  • Eastbound from 33rd to 28th avenues, 27th to 24th avenues and 16th Avenue to Stanyan Street
  • Westbound from Stanyan Street to 15th Avenue, 24th to 25th avenues and 27th to 32nd avenues

These temporary transit lanes will generally replace the curbside travel lane in segments of the corridor that currently have three travel lanes per direction. Transit lanes will be in effect 24-hours daily and striped with white paint, “Bus/Taxi Only” stenciling and signage.

Additional transit improvements on Geary Boulevard include:

  • Temporary wooden sidewalk extensions (known as bus bulbs) at bus stops at 25th, 20th and 6th avenues that allow buses to stop without pulling in and out of traffic and provide more space for people waiting.
  • Upgraded traffic signals at 25th, 20th and 15th avenues that give Muni a few seconds of a head start to enter the intersection before general traffic.
  • 14th to 15th avenues westbound: a transit queue jump that provides a dedicated lane for buses at the approach to the intersection along with a Muni head start signal and right-turn pocket. This converts two metered parking spaces to loading zones and replaces four metered on-street parking spaces.
  • 16th to 15th avenues eastbound: to make room for a temporary transit lane, convert five angled parking spaces to four parallel parking spaces.

Virtual Public Hearing: September 24, 12:00 p.m.

Thank you to everyone who attended the public hearing on September 24 or provided comments on the 38 Geary temporary emergency transit lanes proposal. We heard strong support from a majority of participants and the following six key themes:  

  1. Suggestion to include transit lanes between 15th and 25th avenues
  2. Request to implement earlier than November 2020
  3. Comments regarding impacts to parallel streets
  4. Comments that the proposal is important to address climate change
  5. Question regarding when it is legal to drive in a transit lane
  6. Questions about the need for the project 

Did you miss the meeting? You can review a meeting summary with more detail or watch a video of the presentation.

On October 9, 2020, the City Traffic Engineer completed a review of the results of the Geary Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes hearing and approved the project. The remaining items, to convert angled parking to parallel parking on eastbound Geary between 16th and 15th avenues, were approved by the SFMTA Board on November 3. These transit lanes will help protect public health, particularly for those who continue to rely on transit to make essential trips, by reducing crowding and travel times for riders along the entire route.

You can provide feedback about what you feel is important to evaluate after these temporary emergency transit lanes are installed. Take a short survey about how we should evaluate temporary lanes (multilingual options available).

Note: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected an appeal of the Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes (TETL) project’s compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act on September 29, 2020. As a result, Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes proposed as part of that project may resume approval and implementation actions.

Bus Routes and Rail Lines

    Implementation and Sunset Date

    Installation of the temporary emergency transit priority treatments began in November 2020 and is expected to be completed in winter 2020/21. Transit lanes will be striped only with white paint and “Bus/Taxi Only” stenciling and signage, making them easily reversable. No red color will be installed as part of these temporary installations. Emergency transit lanes will automatically be removed within 120 days after the emergency order is lifted, unless there is a public process to make a temporary emergency transit lane permanent.

    Outreach and Evaluation  

    The urgent nature of this emergency calls for putting temporary measures into place, directly on the street. This accelerated approach allows the city to respond quickly to protect public health and support economic recovery while we work with the community to evaluate and make adjustments to the temporary transit lanes in real time. Pending approval, areas of evaluation will include, but are not limited to:

    • Health and safety benefits
    • Economic health
    • Neighborhood impacts and equity
    • Transit performance
    • Traffic safety

    Community-based organizations, stakeholders and neighbors are involved in shaping the framework and process for evaluating and adjusting the emergency transit treatments in real time. Based on public feedback and ongoing, on-the-ground data monitoring of the temporary transit lanes, we can tweak—or even remove lanes—to meet the needs of the community and Muni customers. Both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected after implementation and will inform any changes needed to the transit lanes and whether permanent approval of the lanes should be pursued.

    Provide feedback on how we evaluate temporary emergency transit lanes

    SFMTA’s Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes will be evaluated once they are installed. Evaluation criteria provided by the community will be used along with metrics that the SFMTA has established. Please take our short survey to provide your input. 


    Depues de que se aprueba un corredor de proyecto, los carriles de tránsito de emergencia temporarios de SFMTA serán evaluados una vez que estén instalados. Los criterios de evaluación proporcionados por la comunidad se utilizarán junto a las métricas que ha establecido la SFMTA. Por favor, responda a esta breve encuesta para brindar su opinión.

    Relationship to Geary Boulevard Improvement Project

    While we pursue temporary emergency transit lanes as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project (GBIP) design is on hold. Approved in 2018, GBIP is a longer-term effort to bring center-running transit lanes and other transit and safety improvements to the Geary corridor west of Stanyan Street. New data or best practices learned from these temporary transit lanes will help inform the next stages of the GBIP project.

    Contact Information
    Amy Fowler, Public Information Officer