San Francisco, CA

San Francisco will remove residential parking spaces obstructing Muni bus stops very soon

Josue Torres
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San Francisco will begin the new year by clearing the city of hundreds of parking spaces that prevent passengers from boarding Muni buses.

The initiative is in line with a policy that the Board of Directors of the Municipal Transportation Agency passed earlier this month, which requires that every Muni bus stop has at least 20 feet of room for passengers to board buses. It followed the adoption of a resolution requesting the modification by the municipal supervisors.

MTA officials predicted in October that clearing access at the 1,200 or so Muni flag stops, where buses pick up passengers from traffic lanes, sometimes next to parked automobiles, would cost between $3 million and $5 million and take seven years to complete. 

According to MTA personnel, the reason for the initial, protracted timeframe was the bureaucratic procedure that mandates the organization hold a public hearing for each flag stop where parking would be eliminated.

The transportation company has committed to reviewing impacted locations in significantly greater batches as opposed to one-by-one, so improving access at city flag stops, which make up approximately one-third of Muni’s 3,000 bus stops, will take 18 months rather than 7 years, Supervisor Dean Preston explained at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

The resolution to remove obstructions at Muni flag stops was written by Preston. According to him, it means commuters won’t have to squeeze between parked automobiles to find their way onboard or off buses. 

In his resolution, Preston noted a recent study by Marcel Moran, a doctorate candidate at UC Berkeley, which revealed that 32% of the city’s bus stations have on-street parking spots that prevent passengers from boarding buses. 

In neighborhoods like Nob Hill, the Bayview, Cole Valley, and the Outer Richmond, where riders frequently have to walk past parked automobiles to get buses, the study identified several Muni bus stops.

According to the MTA, flag stops are typically found on residential streets.

Director of Transit for the MTA, Julie Kirschbaum, said that the organization will start painting red curbs and eliminating parking from flag stations shortly after the new year. Additional accessibility enhancements, such as curb extensions that don’t need buses to stop in traffic lanes, may be added to some flag stops.

Uncertainty surrounds which flag stations will see the changes first, even though they apply to all supervisor districts and a sizable portion of the city’s bus stops. For instance, of the 350 Muni bus stations in District 8, roughly two-thirds are flag stops.

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