By Thomas Pendergast
Big changes are planned for certain public transportation routes in the Haight Ashbury, including the Muni #71 and #43 bus lines.
The SF Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) has revealed, in its Environmental Impact Report for the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP), that a new age is possibly coming for a public transportation transition that could bring a convergence of the #71-Haight-Noriega and the #71-Limited, uniting these routes in one alignment. That means one route would swallow the other, essentially.
This dawning age of hope for more efficient commuting might also see the #6-Parnassus line – which is electric powered – blossom into the main bus route for Haight Street, while the #71-Haight-Noriega would essentially become extinct.
The #6-Parnassus is proposed as the local service on Haight Street,” says Muni in the Community Guide to TEP. “As part of this proposal, the #6-Parnassus would remain on Haight Street and travel on to Stanyan Street, rather than turning up Masonic Avenue through Ashbury Heights. This reroute significantly increases the amount of service on Haight Street, west of Masonic Avenue, and focuses service where it can benefit the most customers.”
Muni says that the #6-ParLowcustomers per hour, compared to the 71-Haight-Noriega, which carries 80 customers per hour between Masonic and Stanyan on a regular weekday morning while heading east, in the downtown direction.
According to Muni, The seats are already full on the #71 route by the time it reaches Masonic, and the bus is near capacity by Van Ness. By contrast, the #6-Parnassus has open seats at Masonic (approximately 25 customers on board on average) and only half standing loads by Van Ness.
“In the future, the #6-Parnassus route would also be extended to West Portal Station; however, the exact route is unknown at this time,” the TEP report states. Streets eliminated from the #6-Parnassus route would include Masoni, Frederick and Clayton streets, and Parnassus between Clayton and Stanyan streets. In the interest of true balance, says Muni, the #32-Roosevelt and #33-Stanyan routes would continue to offer service along these segments. The reroute of the #6-Parnassus would also require new overhead wires on Stanyan, between Haight and Parnassus.
The existing #71L-Haight-Noriega-Limited route, which now operates only during peak periods (eastbound in the morning and westbound in the afternoon) would replace the #71-Haight-Noriega line and provide all-day limited-stop service on Haight Street in both directions. It would continue making regular, or “local” stops, west of Stanyan and on Market Street.
The #43-Masonic may also be destined for a route evolution extending from Chestnut and Fillmore streets to Fort Mason (via Marina Boulevard and Laguna Street). Service in the Presidio would be modified to connect to the Presidio Transit Center, and then the bus would exit the Presidio in the Marina District at Richardson Avenue, instead of Lombard Street.
Should this come to pass, the #43-Masonic would no longer serve LettermanDrive and Lombard Street between Presidio and Richardson avenues.
Yet the future is at least somewhat unwritten at this point, because Muni is offering an alternative route alignment. The #43-Masonic “service variant,” as Muni has dubbed it, would include an alignment on Masonic Avenue between Haight and Frederick streets, and on Frederick Street between Masonic and Cole Street. The eliminated segments would be on Haight, between Masonic and Cole, and Cole between Haight and Frederick streets.
The new segments would include Frederick Street between Clayton and Cole streets. Muni serves approximately 700,000 riders per day, with “low-income” residents making up approximately half of Muni’s total ridership.
While no changes are proposed for the #33-Stanyan line within the Haight, proposed changes for this line could materialize with a new route crossing Potrero Avenue and continuing east on 16th Street to Connecticut Street, then south to 18th Street, then to Third Street, and then to 20th and Tennessee streets in order to cover the Potrero Hill segment of the #22-Fillmore line that would also be eliminated. Service would be rerouted onto Valencia Street between 16th and 18th streets, to alleviate transit congestion on Mission Street, says Muni, and provide better connections with the #22-Fillmore.
Muni is offering a range of choices, including a service variant for this section of the #33-Stanyan line. This would, should it be adopted, include an alternative alignment on 16th Street, between Mission and Guerrero streets, and on Guerrero Street, between 16th and 18th streets. The eliminated segments in this future vision would be on Mission, between 16th and 18th streets, and 18th Street, between Mission and Guerrero Street.
On the eastern edge of the Haight Ashbury runs the #22-Fillmore line, which would be rerouted to continue along 16th Street to Third Street, creating new connections to Mission Bay from the Mission District. It would also add transit to 16th Street, between Kansas and Third streets, Mission Bay Boulevard, between fourth and Third streets, Fourth Street, between Gene Friend Way and Mission Bay Boulevard, and then along Gene Friend Way.
The rerouted #33-Stanyan line would replace a segment along Connecticut and 18th streets. Service on Kansas and 17th streets would be eliminated.
Then again, another proposed service variant for this line would include new motor coach service between Mission Bay and the 16th Street BART station, plus a reroute of the #33-Stanyan along the current #22-Fillmore route.