Planned bus rapid-transit project in Daly City aims to expand connectivity 

click to enlarge The San Francisco County Transportation Authority is proposing a bus rapid transit project along Geneva Avenue in Daly City. A similar BRT system is planned for Muni’s lines on Geary Boulevard, above. - CINDY CHEW/2009 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Cindy Chew/2009 S.f. Examiner file photo
  • The San Francisco County Transportation Authority is proposing a bus rapid transit project along Geneva Avenue in Daly City. A similar BRT system is planned for Muni’s lines on Geary Boulevard, above.

A proposed bus rapid-transit line being studied by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority could help improve regional connections for Daly City's Bayshore neighborhood.

The Geneva-Harney Bus Rapid Transit Project would extend Muni's 28-19th Avenue Limited route to travel from 19th Avenue to the Balboa Park BART station and down Geneva Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard. The line would then follow a path adjacent to Little Hollywood to reach Candlestick Park and Hunters Point. Along the way, riders would be able to transfer to Muni's T-Third Street light-rail line or access the Bayshore Caltrain station.

The route would also close a gap in bus service on Geneva Avenue, which currently stops at Santos Street near the Cow Palace in Daly City, leaving several blocks of Geneva Avenue between that stop and Bayshore Boulevard underserved.

Underserved is a term often applied to the Bayshore neighborhood, which Daly City Mayor David Canepa has previously described as a "food desert," referring to the scarcity of stores selling fresh produce in the area. The mayor has also decried the lack of east-west transit options in the area. SamTrans began a free shuttle service in January to address that need.

The free SamTrans shuttle only comes every two hours, however, while the proposed Muni BRT route would have buses coming approximately every eight to 10 minutes, according to Transportation Authority Project Manager Zabe Bent.

One aspect of the project that might be controversial is a proposed version that would dedicate one traffic lane in each direction on Geneva to buses only, leaving motorists with just one lane in each direction. Other alterations to Geneva Avenue could include elevated platforms at bus stops. Daly City is already in the process of adding bike lanes and pedestrian improvements to the street.

Daly City Councilwoman Carol Klatt has expressed concern about possible impacts on Bayshore residents, and said soliciting their input on the project should be among the Transportation Authority's top priorities. The agency has scheduled several community workshops to allow residents to voice concerns and make suggestions, and Bent says more will be scheduled soon, and listed on http://genevabrt.org.

Bent said Caltrain and SamTrans would also provide input because the project is a collaborative effort with the aim of providing connectivity between all the agencies and services involved.

Another goal of the current study is to determine how soon the project can be completed, Bent said. When asked if officials plan to begin the new route service regardless of whether any proposed physical changes to Geneva Avenue are made, Bent noted that municipalities that have designed BRT projects and then only implemented parts of them seem to have received mediocre results.

"If you design a project that has only a subset of the needed improvements, then you will wind up with just a subset of the benefits," Bent said.

That sentiment is shared by BRT expert and former Bogota, Colombia, Mayor Enrique Penalosa, who recently toured San Francisco and evaluated Muni's proposed BRT lines on Geary Boulevard and Van Ness Avenue. According to Penalosa, transit agencies too often cut corners when launching BRT services, and this results in disappointing performance.

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