A recent meeting about speeding up buses on Muni was a raucous affair, according to the extremely reliable Rob Anderson, with "many" merchants expressing reservations. The first of their reservations is that construction will scare away customers; and second, that faster transit will encourage bigger buildings which will spell disaster for small businesses. Reservation number one is reasonable; but number two is whaaaaa? Is your argument seriously "we need slower buses because small businesses can only survive if nobody can get to where they're going on time"?
"Merchants can't even deal with a month of slowdown, much less a year. A lot of these small merchants are living week to week and month to month and are barely getting by as it is," Anderson quotes one person at the meeting as saying. Gosh, why would they be living week to week? Maybe it's because the buses are too slow to carry customers to them. Just as an example: we live in the Richmond ourselves; and when it's time to run errands, we prefer to ride the 33 or 43 down to Haight, or the 5 to Hayes Valley and downtown, rather than deal with the slowpoke 38.
The Richmond is pretty suburban, even by SF standards. We get that it's nice to live in a small house and have few neighbors. (That's why people move to Walnut Creek.) But how much longer can the old guard keep out the normal trappings of city life: taller buildings, more humans, fewer cars, more bikes, better buses? Part of living in a city (and running a business in a city) is existing in close proximity. A city wants to be dense, and you can only push back for so long.
· How San Francisco Can Keep its Families From Moving Out [SF Gate]
· Progress on Geary BRT Almost as Agonizingly Slow as the 38 [Curbed SF]
· Geary BRT Raucous Meeting [Rob Anderson]
· The once and future city [SF Gate]
· In-law Unit Plan is Sure to Stir the Pot [SF Gate]
· BART director decries height limits [Berkeley Planet]
· From Joe's to Joe's [SF Gate]