Geary Rapid Project
A better Geary is coming soon. The Geary Rapid Project aims to improve one of San Francisco’s busiest corridors with much-needed safety improvements and more reliable bus service for the 38 Geary and 38R Geary Rapid’s over 56,000 daily customers.
The first set of transit and safety treatments, including dedicated bus lanes, was completed at the end of 2018. Major upgrades and coordinated utility work began in early 2019 and are expected to continue until spring 2021. That work includes replacing sewer and water mains, traffic signal upgrades, roadway repaving, new crosswalks and sidewalk extensions, or “bulbs,” that help make bus service more reliable and the corridor safer for people walking.
Find out what improvements are happening near you:
- Weekly construction forecast
- Review block-by-block design details
- Learn about pre-construction transit and safety treatments, including bus stop changes
- Sign up for text or email updates
The Geary Rapid Project is bringing transit and safety improvements to Geary and O'Farrell between Stanyan and Market streets. Plans are also underway for the Geary Boulevard Improvement Project to bring longer-term improvements west of Stanyan to 34th Avenue.
To minimize the impact of construction on our streets, San Francisco has established a City policy requiring the coordination of construction projects in the public right-of-way. The roadway on parts of Geary Boulevard is due for repairs, many of the sewer and water lines under Geary are over 100 years old, and much of the area still lacks access to fast fiber-optic internet connections. Repairs alone are not enough to keep pace with our aging and seismically vulnerable infrastructure.
The Geary Rapid Project is partnering with other City agencies to bring much-needed improvements to Geary, including:
- San Francisco Public Works-sponsored roadway repaving to upgrade 1.5 miles of deteriorated streets and provide you with a smoother ride.
- San Francisco Public Utilities Commission-sponsored work to replace or rehabilitate 1.5 miles of aging sewer lines and two miles of water lines, ensuring residents and businesses continue to receive high quality and reliable services around the clock. This work is part of their Water System and Sewer System Improvement Programs (WSIP and SSIP).
- Department of Technology-co-sponsored installation of 1.75 miles of underground conduits for fiber optic cables to provide internet services and connect traffic signals.
Download and Print Geary Rapid Project Flyers
Rendering shows future median crossing at Geary and Buchanan streets.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What changes and amenities are coming to bus stops?
There are two types of bus stop changes:
- Some closely spaced bus stops have been removed or consolidated to improve travel time reliability.
- One bus stop will be moved from the near side of the intersection to the far side so that buses aren’t delayed by red lights as often.
You can learn more about bus stop changes by visiting the bus stop changes webpage.
Bus stop amenities within the project limits will be upgraded to include new easier-to-read bus stop signs and, where possible, real-time information displays and shelters at stops that do not already have them. Decorative brick edging will also be installed at new transit bulbs.
2. Are cars allowed to enter transit-only lanes?
San Francisco's transit-only lanes are generally only for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles, but people driving are allowed to enter side-running transit lanes to make right turns, enter driveways or enter and exit curbside parking spaces next to the lane. Red transit lanes are often dashed approaching intersections to make it easier to identify a good location to enter the lane before making a turn. Learn more about how to safely navigate transit-only lanes.
3. How will new transit-only lanes be enforced?
Muni buses are equipped with dashboard cameras that can cite parked vehicles in transit-only lanes. However, moving violations cannot be cited due to state law, so enforcement will rely on traditional methods. During initial implementation, enforcement will be increased along the corridor to educate and ensure compliance of new transit-only lanes.
4. Will you be adding more service as a part of the project?
SFMTA regularly monitors service across its entire network and makes adjustments to address crowding when possible and within operating budget constraints. In April 2015, SFMTA implemented a major service expansion in the Geary corridor. If enough travel time savings are added by Geary Rapid Project improvements, that savings could be reinvested into more service on the corridor.
5. Could Geary be upgraded to rail service in the future?
Geary’s high-transit ridership makes it suitable for rail. In fact, rail on Geary is identified in various SFMTA long-range planning documents as a possibility. However, major obstacles to Geary rail include the high capital cost, a scarcity of funding sources and the scale of disruption during construction.
Rendering shows future street-level crossing at Geary and Webster streets.
6. How does this project improve safety for people walking?
Currently, a person crossing Geary is eight times more likely to be hit by a vehicle than the city average. The Geary Rapid Project aims to improve safety for people walking by redesigning intersections to make them safer, introducing new crosswalks and reducing the number of travel lanes in some parts of the corridor to calm traffic speeds.
In addition, traffic signals will be retimed and coordinated throughout the corridor to provide more time for people of all abilities to cross safely. Pedestrian countdown signals will also be added for crosswalks that do not already have them, and accessible pedestrian signals will be installed at all upgraded traffic signals.
7. Won’t reducing travel lanes increase traffic?
Currently, the Geary corridor has discontinuous traffic lanes. Some segments have two or three lanes, while other segments have four lanes. Cars weaving in and out of lanes contributes to congestion. A travel lane will be removed in each direction between Scott and Gough to match the number of lanes upstream and downstream, making for smoother overall traffic flow. Traffic signals will also be upgraded and retimed for improved progression.
During the environmental review process, future travel demand was estimated in order to study the impacts of removing these travel lanes. The results vary by intersection, but overall the study found that fewer total intersections would experience high levels of delay with the project than without. Many people driving would continue to drive along Geary, while a small number of drivers may choose to divert to other parallel streets.
8. What are the overall parking impacts?
Parking loss is a trade-off for better bus service and safer streets for people walking. These goals are accomplished mostly by:
- "Bus bulbs", which are sidewalk extensions at bus stops, and "pedestrian bulbs,” which extend the sidewalk at the corner of the street to shorten crossing distances for people walking.
- “Daylighting” to make people walking more visible to drivers by converting the parking space closest to the intersection to a red painted curb.
- Dedicated bus lanes along the frontage roads on Geary near Fillmore Street and Masonic Avenue.
In total, more than 98 percent of parking within one to two blocks of the corridor will be retained. Parking removal varies by block, but more than 60 percent of block faces will have no parking removal. On block faces where parking is removed, it is typically one to three spots in order to improve safety for people walking by implementing sidewalk extensions. More parking removal is necessary where there are technical constraints, but these locations are close to off-street parking garages that typically have excess capacity, such as near the Fillmore and Masonic underpasses.
9. When will construction start and how long will it last?
Construction began in early 2019 and is expected to conclude in spring 2021. SFMTA work, as well as coordinated work sponsored by other City agencies including roadway repaving and water and sewer main upgrades will all occur during this time period.
10. What impact to my water service should I expect during construction?
Water upgrades, coordinated with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), will only affect properties that front Geary between Masonic Avenue and Market Street, and whose water service connects from Geary and not a side street. Affected properties can expect:
- Water service will be briefly shut off while SFPUC connects your service to a newly installed water main pipe.
- SFPUC will send out water shut-off notices at least 48 hours in advance of any water service interruption.
- To minimize disruption, work will typically be conducted at night.
11. What impact to my sewer service should I expect during construction?
None, sewer service will be maintained throughout the duration of construction.
12. Are there any benefits for people riding bikes?
Geary is a wide street and serves high traffic volumes, therefore parallel corridors (such as Post Street) are better for east-west bike routes. Geary Rapid Project bicycle improvements focus on people biking across Geary along north-south bike routes including Masonic Avenue, and Webster and Steiner streets. These improvements include green-backed sharrows in the intersection that signal the best path for cyclists to cross the street; bike traffic signals that give people biking a head start; and painting the existing sharrows on Geary between Masonic and Presidio green.
13. Will trees be removed or additional trees planted?
Within the project limits between Stanyan and Market streets, there will be about five trees removed throughout the entire corridor to make space for some of the improvements. However, over twenty trees will be added in the vicinity where the trees would be removed, for a net addition of over fifteen trees.
Rendering depicts the future Geary and Steiner streets, with the Steiner Bridge removed and improved crosswalks and medians.