By Phil Matier

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — San Francisco’s plan for Muni in the Mission District promised to speed up commutes, but the time saved has come at a startling cost: a million dollars a minute.

“Sixty-five thousand people ride in the Mission corridor every day,” said director Ed Reiskin.

For the past five months crews have been busy remaking 23 blocks of Mission Street to make it more bus friendly, putting transit only lanes, taking out parking and rerouting traffic.

The price tag on the project? $2.4 million.

Muni says the transformation will save commuters about two minutes.

Local business owners say the money, along with the time saved, is just not worth it.

“We support better service for Muni riders, but this is basically hurting the businesses and the economic vitality of this community,” says Roberto Hernandez of the Mission Merchants Association.

The trouble is, faster buses also mean fewer cars coming in to shop.

Take, for example, the busy intersection at Cesar Chavez Boulevard. “They created what we are calling the “Trump wall” – people cannot drive onto Mission street. They are forced to make a right-hand turn,” says Hernandez.

Drivers are forced to go around the block to get back on Mission Street. No sooner than you get back on Mission, you’re ordered off again, and the again , and still again.

“What it has done is stopped people from coming onto Mission Street,” says Hernandez. “Consequently, for over 300 businesses revenue has dropped drastically over the last five months.

City Hall feels the time-saving project is worth it. “For a lot of the riders who are coming through it feels more like 10 minutes,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “We are going to keep tweaking it with input from the shopkeepers to make sure they are not hurt.”

That means some of the traffic diversions may come down. But meantime, shopkeepers are feeling the pinch.

“We’re a neighborhood that is already in crisis, this is supposed to help, but it’s not,” says Hernandez.


Comments (10)
  1. MissioN22 says:

    2.4 Million dollars a minute for commuters, half as many stops for people in the Mission, local Mission businesses losing, and the price of a monthly fast pass raised to nearly a hundred dollars. Someone is winning and someone is losing.

  2. Reason #113 to avoid the S.F. traffic and parking nightmare. It actually makes driving, bicycling, walking even more dangerous, because drivers are trying to make sense of the 25 or so confusing signs that control each intersection.

  3. Nancy says:

    What the story didn’t tell you is, SFMTA REMOVED five bus stops in each direction. Obviously, if you remove bus stops the transit times become faster. It’s a trick that the SFMTA is using all of SF with the painting of red lanes and want of creating a so called, “Bus Rapid Transit”. It’s nothin gbut a bad joke at the expense of tax payers and small business owners!

  4. Vtaly Troyan, PE says:

    Phil – you’ve just scratched the surface. MTA proposes to do the same thing on Geary Boulevard. MTA staff said the section between 25th Ave and 33rd Ave would cost $18M and save ONE MINUTE (theoretically, based on their estimates of 2020 traffic – they said). MTA has too much money. Do they really need the $100M from the increased sales tax proposed for the November ballot?

  5. Paul Murphy says:

    2 min each way, twice a day amounts to 20 min/week, 50 weeks a year equals about 16 & 2/3 hours less time in commute. That seems pretty valuable. If the riders average SF median income of 100k/year, that works out to being paid about $50/hour. At that rate those 16 & 2/3 hours are worth $833. Summed over 65,000 people who benefit, that is a value of $54 mil per year at the one-time cost of 2.4 mil. Seems like a pretty good deal. The stuff about store owners losing sales is anecdotal and ignores the fact that store owners always say this and studies don’t support it, in fact stores benefit when streets become less car-oriented.

    1. resident says:

      The failure of these patchwork projects (and the appalling state of SF streets for at least 20 years) are proof positive of the inability of local government and city planners to solve problems.
      Fixed route bus and light rail systems are not applicable to cities like San Francisco (because of its streets, residences and demographics) not to mention the absurd costs, pollutions and lack of expansion to think ahead even five or tens years.
      The solution is a dynamic service comprised of electric vehicles (commuter buses and vans) operating commuter routes and on-demand. Small commuter vans fitting in a single lane and able to move with the flow of traffic, not requiring dedicated lanes or stops, producing no noise or sound pollution.

  6. Jackie says:

    This buss lanes are so unwanted, the mission needs it’s parking in order for people to go buy at the stores ..why are we being restricted from our mission streets !! It makes no sense now we are using other streets like cap st wear family and children’s live…now there is traffic wear people can’t even get out of there garages because there is traffic,,now a mom can’t cross the streets with out thinking about anything can happen with there children.. San Francisco is doing the things wrong …

  7. #KeepMissionRed is popular.…/Survey%20Report%20(2-pager).pdf

  8. walt kovacs says:

    and they want to do the exact same thing to geary. this had nothing to do with bus times and everything to do with social engineering and ridding sf of cars. it hasnt and will not work.
    if you want to stop the madness of the board of stupidvisors and the mfta, and you live in district 1, this november vote richie greenberg…..believe me