Hayes considered for two-way, eh?
A wee little portion of Hayes Street (home to the 21 line) east of Gough is proposed to become two-way, according to a recent SFGate article. It may not turn into a big deal (and didn’t seem like one for most of the time I was reading this story), but a few little bits are worth mentioning.
From a Muni planner, regarding the potential loss of a transit-only lane opened during the evening commute:
But without that transit lane, the buses would be slowed, and that would run counter to San Francisco’s transit-first policy, said Muni planner Julie Kirschbaum.
1. What San Francisco transit-first policy? Oh, that one. If this is a real policy, then great. If it’s one of those feel-good, not-really-enforced-but-is-a-good-idea policies, then not so great. A continued wealth of good ideas with bad execution (i.e., no way to enforce them or fund them) seems to be a chronic problem in the Muniverse, something that continues to disappoint many of us riders. We hope it’s taken into consideration as more than lip service over this issue. The bottom line, though, is that you don’t make roads less hospitable to cars while also making it tougher to drive buses down them.
2. Dear god! Please don’t do anything to slow Muni any further! Though, and correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve mostly had punctual, though infrequent experiences on the 21.
3. As the article mentioned, you don’t go two-way without shifting traffic to some other street. What streets, exactly are impacted? If one of them includes Van Ness, which crosses the stretch of Hayes in question, that could be disastrous, judging by the terrible traffic back-ups on VN already.
Pending further study, Muni Diaries wholeheartedly supports any effort to cut traffic and make streets kinder to non-automobile traffic, if (and this is key) equal measures are also taken to increase the ease with which public transit can be used. We’re on the edge of our seats waiting for the outcome because, if this proves successful, it could mean similar steps could be taken to improve bike/pedestrian/transit access citywide.
There’s already a ton of foot traffic in area of the proposed two-way street. I used to ride the 21 all the time, and that particular stretch was the slowest part my commute from downtown to upper haight. I imagine two lines will only add congestion to the area. The shops and sidewalks won’t move, meaning a smaller funnel for vehicles and pedestrians to maneuver. I hope our city planners did their research on this one.