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Transit officials finally approve fast track Geary corridor

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Hopefully your bus moves faster than this process

The 38 Geary outbound downtown. Nyako

The good news for frustrated commuters is that a long brewing plan to speed up the infamously sluggish 38 Geary Muni line took a big step forward this week.

The bad news: There are many more stops to go before this one gets to the end of its line.

The Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project would, among other things, paint long stretches of bus-only red lanes down some of the busiest sections of Geary, moving buses out of the constant stop-and-go of traffic.

The plan, originally proposed over a decade ago, would accelerate the 38’s agonizingly slow east-to-west odysseys across the city.

Geary from the Steiner Street bridge.

But of course, some folks living and doing business nearby don’t like the look of it, leading to another of San Francisco’s famously long, snaky lines for public comment at Thursday’s meeting of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board.

The board is a slightly obscure body that’s actually made up of lawmakers from the Board of Supervisors. After much debate (read: 10 years worth just since the first feasibility study), they approved the corridor’s final Environmental Impact Report.

However, there’s a lot more red tape between those riders and those red lanes. The EIR will now move along to the SFMTA board for its own scrutiny.

“The Geary corridor sees more than 50,000 daily transit trips,” the final report notes, also citing “unpredictable waiting times, overly crowded buses, and ‘bunching’” which is surely the most polite language anyone has ever employed about the line’s woes.

Once upon a time, streetcars serviced the Geary corridor. In fact, the old A Geary line was the city’s first.

But, ironically, the streetcars went out of style when Geary riders began preferring the bus. If only 20th century commuters and City Hall knew what they had wrought.