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Faster Muni Coming to Van Ness; Professional Gadflies Sought

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The plan for rapid, dedicated bus lanes on Van Ness is coming along at the usual pace, which is to say, agonizingly slowly. (Here's an article from 2006 that puts the completion date at 2011; it's since moved up to 2013.) But now's your chance to be a part of very incremental history! The project's Citizen Advisory Council needs another member, and they've just posted the application form [PDF]. Think of all the fun you'll have as a crotchety San Franciscan, haranguing engineers and planners! It is what we as a people do best. The Council meets quarterly to advise transit agencies, which may not be a terribly binding process but is probably at least cathartic for everyone involved.

Some background: the $120 million Bus Rapid Transit lanes will run about two miles along Van Ness, which works out to about $11,363 per foot. Yikes. This better be good. And it probably will be—although a subway would carry people more effectively, dedicated surface lanes are a more manageable (faster/cheaper) alternative, and will help spruce up the bleak streetscape. The only opposition to BRT comes from a few businesses owners who believe that transit riders don't spend as much money as car owners, and also a tire salesman. These people are obviously highly trustworthy.
· Transportation planners cheer bus rapid transit [SF Gate]
· Store owners oppose proposed bus lanes [Chron]
· Merchants, Misinformation, and the Future of San Francisco Transit [Beyond Chron]
· How Muni can improve - go underground [Chron]