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Rapid Transit: City Plans MUNI Overhaul

[Project rendering courtesy SFCTA]

Last week, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) hosted a public forum to gather input on the five proposed plans for the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BTR) project, which will run from Mission to Lombard Streets along Van Ness at a cost of $90-$95M ($75M Federal, $20M prop K). Those of you who attended the Dwell on Design conference may have witnessed the conversation between landscape architect Walter Hood and Alice Waters, during which Waters dreamed of nectar and ambrosia while Hood extolled the virtues of tree-lined streets and native grasses. It appears as though the city is following the same train of thought, as each of the five proposed plans allow for some degree of additional landscaping—we heart the green. The greater issue at hand, of course, is the effect of said plans on the city's outrage-inducing public transportation system.

The first design, or so-called "control subject" won't alter MUNI service at all. Rather, the streetscape will simply receive a cosmetic update, accessorized with new median landscaping, signals, lights, and support poles. While all plans allow for the "dedicated" bus lanes that we all drive in, each proposal proffers its own bells and whistles, some of which suggest that the city has not, in fact, brought sociologists on board for this study. For instance, if passed, the POP, or "Proof of Payment" system will to allow passengers to board at all doors in order to reduce wait times. Correct us if we're wrong, but rush hour doesn't exactly inspire an orderly quene at the front door already now, does it? The Transbay Blog has parsed out each plan in a clear, concise way; we suggest that you visit it (or the city's official site) for the full deets. Godspeed, MUNI.
· Van Ness BRT: Why We Need It [Transbay Blog]
· San Francisco County Transportation Authority [website]