Muni

L-Taraval Streetcar Stop Axed

Concrete Boarding Platforms Coming to Eight Intersections

By Paul Kozakiewicz

 

The SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) board of directors voted

unanimously on Dec. 5 to remove the Muni L-Taraval streetcar stop at 35th

Avenue and Taraval Street in an effort to reduce transit times from the SF Zoo to

downtown.

 

The directors also kept a transit stop and sustained the closure of a stop, but will look at

the issue again in the future. Muni, which is run by the SFMTA, says changes are being

made to make the L-Taraval line faster and safer.

 

Loading platforms at transit stops are designed to protect transit riders from vehicles

when they are boarding or disembarking from a streetcar. In a recent five-year

period, 22 people were injured getting on or off L-Taraval streetcars.

 

Local merchants are concerned because Muni’s plan, with the construction of loading

platforms and sidewalk bulbouts, includes the removal of parking spaces and two of

Taraval’s four vehicle lanes for streetcars only, which could have a negative impact on

the community.

 

The SFMTA ran a test program to see if it could get more than 90 percent of the vehicles

passing a streetcar to stop when the streetcar stops, but only 72 percent of the vehicle

traffic stopped, risking transit riders’ safety, so loading platforms at eight intersections

between West Portal and the Outer Sunset will be constructed.

 

Albert Chow, a local merchant and secretary of the People of the Parkside, Sunset (POPS)

neighborhood organization, said the removal of left-hand turns on Taraval would drive

traffic to Santiago, Ulloa and other streets in the residential neighborhood. He also said

the loss of parking will hurt local merchants.

 

At the 35th Avenue transit stop, Muni was unable to install a loading platform in the

middle of Taraval because of the track “crossover” configuration at the intersection.

The directors also voted to

 

keep the stop at 44th Avenue and Taraval, at least temporarily. The SFMTA’s staff will

report back to the directors in about six months as to how the stop is affecting

overall transit performance.

 

Brenda Peralta, an Outer Sunset resident, urged SFMTA directors to keep the 44th

Avenue stop. She said she depends on hearing the streetcar’s arrival for transit trips and

she could not do that if the stop is moved two blocks away.

 

A third transit stop on the SFMTA’s agenda was the eastbound stop at Taraval and 17th

Avenue, which is located next to a Safeway supermarket. A number of local residents

argued the stop should stay for the convenience of senior, disabled and other residents.

The removal of the stop means shoppers will have to walk uphill two blocks to 15th

Avenue to catch the streetcar. (Shoppers traveling westbound will need to walk two

blocks and catch the L-Taraval at 19th Avenue.)

 

But the directors, who approved closure of the stop at an earlier meeting, refused to rein-

state the stop. Instead, it said it would revisit the issue in about six months and asked

SFMTA staff to report back as to the impact on local transit riders.

 

Inga Horton, a former city planner who has lived on 44th Avenue since 1972, said

seniors, disabled and other transit riders should not bear the brunt of Muni’s changes

just to slightly speed up transit.

 

“I’m very devastated about saving a minute or two in time and inconveniencing seniors

and others,” Horton said.

 

After public testimony ended, the directors took action, citing the need to improve the

overall efficiency of the transportation system for it to be relevant in the future.

 

Cheryl Brinkman, chair of the SFMTA’s board of directors, said the vote was “about

transit efficiency.” She said Muni was losing riders to ride-share services and other forms

of transportation because Muni is too slow.

 

The SFMTA delayed taking action on the creation of a parking- time-limit zone in the

Outer Sunset and Parkside districts.

Categories: Muni

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