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47 CHAPTER FIVE CASE STUDIES INTRODUCTION Transit Preferential Streets Committee This chapter presents the results of a more detailed review of Because transit preferential projects often cut across the juris- certain urban areas that have implemented transit preferential diction of several city departments in San Francisco, a Tran- treatment programs on urban streets. These areas have used sit Preferential Streets Committee was formed in 1973 to a variety of different treatments and they have established coordinate efforts between the staffs of different city depart- partnerships between the transit agencies and traffic engi- ments. Initially, the TPS committee included representatives neering jurisdictions to implement the treatments. of MUNI (then responsible only for transit operations), the Department of Public Works (then responsible for traffic The urban areas reviewed are San Francisco, Seattle, Port- engineering operations), the Police Department (responsible land (Oregon), and Denver. Information and data on the transit for traffic and parking enforcement), and the Department of preferential treatment programs in these cities were obtained by City Planning, which was responsible for the city's Master a review of documentation developed for these programs, as Plan and Preferential Streets Program. In recent years, a new well as phone interviews. SFMTA was created that merged MUNI and a revised Depart- ment of Parking and Traffic into a single agency. With this merger a multi-faceted committee review structure has been SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA put in place related to transit preferential treatments. The city/county of San Francisco has perhaps the most exten- sive transit priority system in the United States related to its Current Treatments surface light rail, streetcar, cable car, and bus operations. The development and operation of transit service in San Fran- Today, MUNI has more than 460 different transit priority cisco are the responsibility of the Municipal Transportation treatments on its street system. This includes 246 intersec- Agency (SFMTA). tions with signal priority, 132 boarding islands along its light rail lines (53% with low-level platforms and shelters), 52 bus bulbs, and 32 sections of exclusive transit lanes totaling 17.1 History miles. Figures 37 and 38 show the locations of these various treatments. The MUNI Transit Preferential Streets Program was estab- lished in 1973. The purpose of the program is to expedite MUNI's TSP system includes use of the V-tag detection transit services, expressed in a Board of Supervisors reso- system for light rail and streetcar priority through certain sig- lution as "increased speed and regular frequency of transit nalized intersections, and optical infrared detection for bus service serves to encourage greater use of public transit, signal priority where applied. MUNI has plans to upgrade the which in turn reduces traffic congestion and air pollution signal controllers in the city to 2070 models, and install the and may well increase farebox revenues." The initial pro- D4 software that has the capability of instituting enhanced gram through the 1980s focused on improvements in ten TSP for both rail and bus operations. corridors--Sutter and Post Streets, Geary and O'Farrell Streets, Mission Street, Stockton Street, Polk Street, 3rd Most of MUNI's light rail system operates at-grade, on and 4th Streets, and Fillmore Street. Priority treatments median-running transit lanes, with most median mileage shared included exclusive transit lanes and bus bulbs, and numer- with bus and general traffic. Dedicated median transitways ous administrative and enforcement actions such as traffic for LRT are in place for the T line in the 3rd Street corridor, signal timing improvements, tow-away lane extensions, along the south end of the M line in the 19th Avenue corri- relocation of mailbox and newspaper rack obstructions dor, and on a short section of the N line in the Judah Street and discouragement of auto-oriented land uses on transit corridor. streets. These improvements were subsequently expanded to other corridors in the city. In the late 1990s, TSP was The T line was completed in 2003 as a completely dedi- initiated in two major bus corridors--Mission Street and cated median transit facility, with new 2070 signal con- Potrero Street. trollers and priority through every signalized intersection
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FIGURE 37 TSP treatments on San Francisco street system (Source: SFMTA).
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FIGURE 38 Exclusive lanes/boarding islands/bus bulb treatments on San Francisco street system (Source: SFMATA).