MrEricSir: Muni Needs Signal Priority


Photo by skronk!

MrEricSir has a suggestion for making Muni more efficient:

Anyone who regularly travels on Muni Metro through [the intersection at Church and Duboce], or the similar intersection at Ulloa and West Portal, can testify that these intersections are a major source of Muni Metro delays. (The West Portal intersection is actually worse, since Muni Metro has a signal but other traffic does not.)

If we really want to be a “transit-first” city, doesn’t it make sense to have traffic signals that give preference to transit? Especially in the case of Muni Metro, which is supposed to be “rapid” but when mixed with traffic is anything but.

Of course, that would mean that all of San Francisco would have to agree with the idea that public transportation sits atop a hierarchy, above cars, bikes, pedestrians, baby strollers, unicyclists, roller bladers, Segways, etc., etc., ad infinitum. Still, we like Eric’s idea. You can read the rest of what he’s got to say about it here.

What do you think?



  1. But “cars, bikes, pedestrians, baby strollers, unicyclists, roller bladers, Segways, etc.” can take any route they like. Public transit doesn’t have that advantage; it must stick to a predefined route.

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    • jeff

      Yep, but try telling most drivers, cyclists, peds, stoller-pushers, etc., that they should relent to public transit, and I’d be willing to bet they’d put up a fight. In SF, sadly, everyone seems to think that they have the right of way. Individuals even shift their sense of priority depending on what form of transit they’re engaged in. Wish it weren’t true.

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  2. Scott

    The elimination of traffic on WB duboce from church to sanchez is the first step this year.

    Adding a signal at that intersection will slow down the 22. closing that intersection down to anything but transit traffic would be the best solution, disallowing though traffic at church and hermann would do this. I’m guessing the people that live there with cars would go crazy.

    best, best case would have been to extend the tunnel into sunset tunnel, and an underground station, but im guessing thats never going to happen.

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    • While extending the tunnel would be cool, it wouldn’t help the J any.

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      • Scott

        Duh. Forgot about the J somehow, even though i live about a block away from this mess.

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  3. Ciaran

    Church & Deboce is infuriating? How long and how many stops and starts does it take to get a train into/out of a tunnel?

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  4. BBnet3000

    Muni should absolutely have signal priority, no idea why it doesnt. Even the T has waited at lights when ive been on it.

    Theres already the limitation of running on the surface through such a dense city. It should be mitigated through signal priority. Its not an issue of transit vs. cars, as cars going the same way as a bus or train with priority would also get the same green light.

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  5. fermata

    there should be some kind of signal at fillmore/duboce, whether it gives transit right-of-way or not. I look forward to the hopefully-not-too-distant-or-imaginary future when that intersection is closed to other motor traffic. That won’t help the pedestrian-crossing free-for-all, however. Wow, I used a shitload of hyphens…

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  6. I’m fairly late to this discussion. Any new development to this?

    The project has make a lot of cosmetic improvement. But what about the most important improvement that is to reduce delay for N and J? Theoretically the intersection has a 4 ways stops sign. It will not be too terrible if people actually follow the traffic law and take turn. In practice, for some pervert reason, Muni light rail has the lowest priority in that intersection. They will wait and wait and wait there. 10 cars and 5 bicycles would have beat MUNI and crossed the intersection before it proceed. This is very wrong.

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