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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Consolidate Muni's 17-Park Merced and 18-46th Avenue?

Things are not pretty with Muni and all the service changes and the recent cost increase in passes is not saving enough money. It made me think, what bus lines could be consolidated to save Muni money, but still keep the service consistent?

My answer for Muni is to consolidate the 17-Park Merced and 18-46th Avenue into a singular bus line. I was looking over an article written by SF Appeal's Matt Baume about what bus lines are most at risk, and the 18 and 17 are high on the list for most at risk.

  • The 17-Park Merced is a 'loop' route that starts at West Portal Station, drives through the Stonestown Galleria, University Park North (formerly Stonestown Apartments), SF State, Park Merced, and basically backtracks it to West Portal. This is a very short route and is lightly used.
  • The 18-46th Avenue's terminals are the Legion of Honor and Stonestown; the route primarily serves the western most region of San Francisco's Outer Richmond and Sunset districts, and the isolated area on John Muir Drive.
Muni originally suggested ending the 17 line because the M-Ocean View line follows about 80% of the route (West Portal to SF State), but does ignore the intimate service provided to portions of Park Merced and University Park North, so it wasn't a fan favorite of the neighbors who fought to keep the line. Muni also suggested modifying the 18 to ignore John Muir drive and continue on Sloat and drive along the north shore of Lake Merced Blvd. and force the 17-Park Merced to provide service to John Muir Drive and the homes in the "Lake Merced Hills" residence community.

Here's two ideas:

My recommendation:
  • Combine both bus lines so it's basically a route going from Legion of Honor to West Portal Station. Instead of the existing 18-46th Avenue bus going to Stonestown, it will take a portion of the 17-Park Merced routes for service to West Portal.
  • This bus line will act as a back-up when the Muni Metro experiences a fail and can provide direct service between West Portal, SF State, and Park Merced.
  • The bus line helps connect passengers who live in the apartments at John Muir Drive to get onto Muni Metro faster. The recent elimination of the 88-BART Shuttle segment to their area is pretty bad, but at least those people can use one bus line to connect with Muni Metro at West Portal for service to downtown. For those who need BART, just transfer at 19th Avenue & Holloway for the M-Ocean View to Balboa Park or the 29-Sunset.
  • There's no need for the 18-46th Avenue to drive on Winston anymore, that's easily covered by the 29-Sunset for the short hop to/from Stonestown.
  • The combined bus route will need to take a more direct route through Park Merced because it would add additional time to drive through the narrow side streets instead of sticking to main roads like Font and Juan Bautista Circle.
  • The modified route will have to ignore direct service to University Park North, but it's only a few minutes to walk to the 29-Sunset on Winston & Buckingham, and just a few minutes away from the new combined route bus stop along 19th Avenue.
  • It would require Muni buses to run along 19th Avenue between Holloway and Winston if Muni wants to keep bus service near Stonestown. If Muni wants to ignore 19th Avenue and Stonestown completely, just move service to Junipero Serra Blvd. via Holloway.
Here's a custom map I made of the modified route:

View Larger Map

Alternate Recommendation:
  • An alternate option for Muni is to still consolidate the 17 and 18, but the modified route will terminate at Stonestown with bus service going through Park Merced. This would force any passengers needing Muni Metro to connect at the Stonestown or SF State outdoor platforms.
  • There is no need to make a new bus terminal for Stonestown, just using the existing one (19th Avenue & Buckingham) for the 18 works if the bus makes a u-turn at northbound 19th Avenue & Winston. The route back to Legion of Honor just goes straight through 19th Avenue and turns to enter Park Merced.
  • Service will still not enter University Park North (Stonestown Apartments) due to walking access to the 29-Sunset on Winston and the modified bus line terminal at Stonestown.
  • It's a more efficient route that helps the 18 maintain its reputation for timely service and gives coverage to Park Merced, but grumpy Park Merced residents who love to shop in West Portal or wants to take the metro at West Portal station will bicker.
Alternate map:

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