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4th Street Transit Improvement Project

Project Introduction

Photo of Customers boarding the bus on 4th StreetWith nearly 40 buses per hour at peak times, 4th Street is one of San Francisco’s major transit corridors. The 4th Street Transit Improvement Project is planning improvements on the corridor for late 2019 to benefit five of Muni’s busiest bus lines. These routes, including the 8 Bayshore, 8AX and 8BX Bayshore Express, 30 Stockton and 45 Union/Stockton, provide connections for an average of nearly 70,000 weekday customers to Caltrain and the Chinatown, SoMa and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods, among others. 4th Street is also a major traffic corridor. With connections to US 101 south and the Bay Bridge, it served up to 1,000 vehicles per hour prior to Stockton Street reopening.

For more than six years, 4th Street has been temporarily reconfigured to accommodate construction of the SFMTA Central Subway project under the street. With construction equipment removed from the roadway in late August 2019, 4th Street is ready for improvements. The SFMTA Board of Directors unanimously approved the project on October 1, 2019.

The 4th Street Transit Improvement Project is part of Muni Forward’s system-wide approach to transit priority improvements and complements changes being implemented on 3rd Street as part of the 3rd Street Transit and Safety Project. Taken together, these projects should substantially reduce transit delay on 3rd and 4th streets in SoMa for thousands of daily customers.

Keeping Muni Moving

Prior to Central Subway construction, Muni shared its 4th Street transit lane with right-turning vehicles and through traffic, and the street had 3-4 through lanes for general traffic. Parts of the transit lane were not full-time, and it ended before Folsom street. The 4th Street Transit Improvement Project will make upgrades to reduce bus delays and improve pedestrian safety on the corridor. 

Transit Changes Coming

The project proposal received feedback from a diverse group of stakeholders including Muni customers, community organizations, citywide advocacy organizations, local merchants, hotels, institutional stakeholders, and residents of senior communities. Feedback surveys are now closed. Transit priority improvements coming in late 2019 include:

  • Dedicated, full-time, red transit-only lane, separate from turning traffic, extended to Folsom street.

Map of proposed transit lane from Market to Folsom on 4th Street

  • Combine Howard and Folsom bus stops at future Central Subway station to improve connectivity.

Map showing proposed stop changes combining the Howard and Folsom stops into one stop at the future central subway station

See the diagram below for the design of 4th Street approaching Howard.

Cross section diagram of 4th Street showing proposed design

Smarter Use of Curb Space

  • Add more passenger and commercial loading near the Metreon to address current demand.

  • Some curbside parking will be removed to support the changes.

Safety for People Walking

Many people walk on 4th Street to neighborhood businesses, cultural and civic destinations, as well as low-income, senior housing facilities. Project changes are designed to improve safety for people walking, in support of the City’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024.

  • Where pedestrian volumes are highest between Market and Folsom, reduce the number of through lanes of traffic to two (same as on lower Stockton).
Project Timeline 
Summer/Fall 2019
Public Outreach/SFMTA Board Review
Fall 2019
Final Design
End of 2019
Implementation (timed with completion of Central Subway)
Project Status
Dedicated, full-time, red transit-only lane, separate from turning traffic
Extend transit lane to Folsom Street
Combine Howard and Folsom bus stops at future Central Subway station to improve connectivity
Reduce number of through lanes of traffic to two between Market and Howard, improving pedestrian safety
SFMTA Drive and Parking icon
Maintain three through lanes for general traffic south of Folsom to accommodate freeway traffic
SFMTA Drive and Parking icon
Maintain/improve capacity for right turns at Mission and Howard by providing dedicated right turn lanes (not shared with transit)
SFMTA Drive and Parking icon
Increase passenger and commercial loading near the Metreon
Contact Information
Steve Boland, Project Manager
Bonnie Jean von Krogh, Public Relations Officer
4th Street Transit Improvement Project