Monday, December 29, 2008

Geary Blvd: a transit Rorschach test

What is it about Geary Blvd. that encourages people---especially bike people---to write silly things? Today's howler is from Peter Smith on his bikes-uber-alles blog: "Right now, buses can’t handle the load on Geary. They’re slow, unreliable, nobody wants to ride them, they’re just terrible all-around. Streetcars would probably be a good solution."

Several years ago, another bike guy named Smith---Matt Smith in the SF Weekly---denigrated the #38 Geary line: "the 38 Geary remains an underused extended sentence in transit jail."

In fact the #38 Muni is the busiest bus line in the Bay Area with more than 49,000 boardings a day.

What slows the #38 down are all the stop lights in the avenues between 25th Avenue and Masonic Avenue and, on the last part of its run, between Van Ness Avenue and Market Street. Streetcars or a BRT system, like the #38 now, would still have to deal with the stoplight, cross-street issue. 

A possible solution: installing a system that allows Muni buses to control traffic lights in their favor, which would surely be cheaper and less disruptive to small businesses and the neighborhoods than building a $200 million BRT or a new rail line.

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