The more than 52,000 daily riders on the 38 need more efficient and reliable transit service. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on Geary will provide those service improvements.
There are many different elements that make up a BRT system. One of the main features is dedicated bus lanes, which get buses out of congested traffic and reduce delays. New boarding platforms are another part of a BRT system and make it safer and easier to get on and off the bus. Other features that keep the buses moving, like stop changes and traffic signal adjustments, will save riders even more time. By combining all these elements, we expect bus travel times to be reduced as much as 24% when the Geary BRT project is complete.
Although Geary BRT has been decades in the making, we’re also looking to the future of transportation on the corridor. The project’s design allows for the addition of rail service in the future. The city is currently evaluating longer-term plans for the city’s rail network, including the Geary corridor. That means rail could be installed if funding becomes available. This flexibility makes Geary BRT a good investment both for the near-term and the future.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority Board—comprised of members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors—unanimously approved the Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project design and the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) at their meeting on Thursday, January 5, 2017.
The Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was released on December 9, 2016. It includes a response to all the comments submitted following the release of the draft EIR in October 2015.
Next steps include development of the detailed design, more community outreach and then construction, which would begin with the extension of red bus-only lanes on Geary from Gough to Stanyan Street in 2017.
The project team will take each proposed change to the SFMTA Board of Directors for approval, beginning with the improvements planned for Geary and O’Farrell between Market and Stanyan streets anticipated for summer 2017.
Phase 1 includes all improvements between Market and Stanyan streets. Phase 2 includes the remaining improvements in the Richmond District.
This phased construction approach streamlines project delivery, minimizes the effects of construction and allows people travelling on the corridor to feel the benefits of Geary BRT as soon as possible.
After the certification of the environmental review, next steps will include extensive community outreach on design details anticipated to begin early 2017, and final approvals by the SFMTA board anticipated for summer 2017. Pending project approvals, implementation would begin in fall 2017 with the painting of the bus-only lanes and stop changes between Market and Stanyan streets. Other upgrades like the installation of new traffic signal infrastructure and new pedestrian and bus bulbs would follow, with completion anticipated in 2019.
Next steps for Phase 2 including conceptual engineering, final design, approvals and construction. Following additional design work the team will be able to develop a more detailed construction schedule. Construction is anticipated to start in 2019.
Geary BRT means a safer corridor for everyone.
The package of improvements planned for Geary go beyond bus-only lanes and rapid transit service. On a street with one of the highest collisions rates in the city, and a notoriously unfriendly walking environment, the Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project would improve safety conditions along the entire corridor, whether you are walking, biking, riding transit, or driving.
When crossing Geary, a pedestrian is eight times more likely to be hit by a car than the citywide average. (Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, 2010-2015). Geary is part of the 12 percent of the city streets where 70 percent of severe injuries and traffic deaths occur.
To make the Geary corridor safer and bring the city closer to its Vision Zero goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024, the Geary BRT project is proposing safety improvements at almost every intersection on Geary and O’Farrell streets and Geary Boulevard.
Safety improvements includes:
- More than 100 sidewalk extensions, a combination of pedestrian and bus bulbs
- Accessible curb ramps, bus bulbs and boarding islands
- New bike signals, guidelines and other bicycle facilities at intersections with bike routes along the corridor
- Leading pedestrian intervals, which are signals that give people walking a head start and more time to cross
- Protected left turns, giving people driving a dedicated left turn signal
- Consistently providing two traffic lanes in each direction to reducing speeding
Example of new bike treatments proposed at some intersection with crossing bike routes.
This package of safety improvements reflects a reimagining of how the Geary corridor functions. The current design of the Geary corridor reflects a different era, when streets were designed to support fast-moving car traffic. The safety elements that are part of the Geary BRT project better suit the needs of everyone who uses the corridor.
The City understands construction is sometimes loud and disruptive, with the potential to affect many users of the Geary corridor. Geary is one of the longest commercial corridors in the City, is lined with many small businesses, and is vital to the City’s economy.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are partnering with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development on five key construction strategies:
- Pre-construction survey
- Business and community advisory committees
- Accessibility, way-finding and advertisement
- Notifications and project resources
- Business technical assistance and support
The estimated cost of the Geary BRT project is approximately $300 million. Funding sources for the project vary based on two distinct construction phases. Phase 1 includes improvements between Market and Stanyan Streets and Phase 2 includes the remaining improvements in the Richmond District.
The estimated cost of Phase 1 improvements is $60-100 5 million to extend bus-only lanes, upgrade traffic signal infrastructure, repave segments of the roadway, restore utilities and create safer crossings. These improvements are funded through local sources, including the Prop K sales tax, Prop A T2030 bonds, SFPUC funds and the Highway User Tax Account.
The estimated cost of Phase 2 improvements, where the street would be redesigned for center-running bus-only lanes, is approximately$175-200 million. Once environmental review is complete, the Geary BRT project will compete for federal funding sources to fund a majority of the improvements in Phase 2. Improvements not funded through federal sources would rely on local sources. Pending final project approvals, construction of
Phase 1 improvements is anticipated to begin in Fall 2017.