The dog and pony show rolls on

(Reposted, with permission, from North Beach Examiner)

The Metropolitan Transporation Authority — or Muni, as most of us still prefer calling it — has been trying to get rid of the 39-Coit since the 1950s. Unless eight supervisors vote against the transit system’s current Transit Effectiveness Plan at their Sept. 16 meeting, Muni will get half its wish.

Elimination of the Union Street hill leg of the 39 route is one of the provisions of the plan. Several other lines around town are facing truncation or elimination as well, which Muni maintains is necessary to provide the “greatest good for the greatest number.”

This is a pretty hilly town (in case you haven’t noticed), and a densely populated one (which, if the city planners get their way, will only be worse in coming years). The only way to provide reliable transit service with this kind of topography and population is by saturating the place with bus lines. Eliminating lines, or in the case of the 39, drastically cutting service, flies in the face of the city’s so-called “transit first” policy.

Most of the passengers riding the 39 to Union and Montgomery are either tourists looking for a back door to Coit Tower or (mostly older) locals, often laden with groceries, who need the bus to avoid the long trudge up the Union Street hill. Cutting this leg effectively wipes out Muni service to half of one of San Francisco’s most densely populated hills.

The citizens’ group formed to retain full service on the 39-Coit are urging anyone interested to show up at the Board of Supervisors’ Sept. 16 meeting at City Hall. Again, eight of the 11 supes will have to nix TEP in order to get Muni to reconsider. Muni’s had two years to lobby for the plan. If you want to weigh in, now’s the time.

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