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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunday Streets Forces Muni's 18-46th Avenue to Take 51 Block Detour

Awful Muni Fare Prices
One of my favorite Muni bus lines is always the 18-46th Avenue because it's the easiest and most direct route to my office at SF State and stops not too far from my home in the Outer Richmond district.

But it made me a little suspicious of why the Sunday Streets organizers could not accommodate the 18 bus along its normal route via Great Highway, and instead, re-route it by forcing it to drive 51 blocks (3.7 miles) versus its regular route that is a mere 8/10th of a mile. What a waste of gas and time for one of the most timely bus lines in all of Muni.

Here's what the normal route looks like. On La Playa, it turns right onto Fulton, left on to Great Highway, left onto Lincoln, and right onto 46th Avenue. Average time: Approximately 3 minutes.

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Since Sunday Streets happened, Muni had no choice but to re-route the bus. Instead of turning right onto Fulton, it was left on Fulton, drive 24 blocks to 25th Avenue, take Crossover Drive, turn right on Lincoln, and drive an additional 27 blocks to reach 46th Avenue. Time: At least 10 minutes with no traffic, but since Sunday Streets shut-down Upper Great Highway and the road was too narrow on Chain of Lakes (the closest location for vehicles to get across), it took the 18 bus at least 15 minutes to do this re-route.

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Going northbound was much worse for the 18 bus because it can't make a left turn at Lincoln & 19th Avenue; it has to follow the turn procedure the 29-Sunset uses by going around 20th Avenue and using the left turn lane at Irving & 19th and that adds on at least another 5 minutes, especially with the infamous Irving street traffic. Muni buses also can't make a left turn at 25th Avenue & Fulton, so it has to go one block ahead to Cabrillo; that adds on more minutes to the trip.

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Maybe the next time the city wants to host Sunday Streets, how about allowing the 18-46th Avenue bus be able to drive slow along the short stretch of Great Highway instead of inconveniencing a lot of people by taking a route that is triple the time? If Muni can allow the 44 bus to cut through Golden Gate Park's road shut downs on Sundays, why can't they accommodate the 18 line? I hope Muni doesn't make a solution by making people walk from 46th & Lincoln to catch a second bus at Fulton & La Playa; the line carries a lot of elderly passengers and some can't walk too far.

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