Temporary new Muni line to serve growing SF neighborhood 

click to enlarge The 55-16th Street will start on Jan. 31 and service Mission Bay. - SFMTA
  • The 55-16th Street will start on Jan. 31 and service Mission Bay.

Just in time for the opening of San Francisco's newest hospitals, a temporary new bus line was approved to serve Mission Bay.

Service will start Jan. 31 for the 55-16th Street, after the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's board of directors unanimously approved the line Tuesday. It will run from the 16th Street BART station in the Mission to Mission Bay along 16th Street.

The new line will also pass by UC San Francisco's three new hospitals at the Mission Bay Campus: UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco, UCSF Bakar Cancer Hospital and UCSF Betty Irene Moore Women's Hospital, all located near 16th and Third streets.

UCSF is slated to open the hospitals Feb. 1, a day after the new Muni line begins operations.

"As use and demand grows, we'll ramp up service," Jeffrey Flynn, SFMTA's service planning manager, told directors. But he reminded them that the 55-16th Street is temporary.

"Temporary means three to five years," Flynn said.

During that time, the SFMTA plans to build out new power lines and infrastructure to expand the 22-Fillmore route into Mission Bay, making the 55 sort of like a temporary 22-Fillmore extension.

And red bus-only lanes will be painted on 16th Street to speed the movement of buses along the corridor.

"We've been long hoping for a more convenient east-west transit route to Mission Bay," said Kevin Beauchamp, director of physical planning at UCSF. "We're excited for the new line. A large portion of our patients use transit."

At UCSF Mission Bay, only 45 percent of patients and visitors are expected to drive alone to the facilities, and 26 percent of total patients will take public transit, according to UCSF's environmental impact report on long-range development plans.

"We have a great shuttle system, and we try to discourage driving," Beauchamp said, "but we believe Muni is very important for our population."

At the SFMTA board meeting Tuesday, people did raise concerns about other Muni lines that could be displaced in the wake of the new temporary route.

Fran Taylor was concerned the elderly and people with disabilities would lose out.

"I'm the gazelle of the bunch," Taylor said of sitting in the front of 33-Stanyan buses with her fellow elderly riders. She worried those riders would not cope well if the 33-Stanyan were to be rerouted.

"People are in bad shape," she said, adding that if the elderly and people with disabilities rode the 9-San Bruno instead of the 33-Stanyan, they would have a tougher time. "The 9 is crowded."

Flynn said the SFMTA is aware of riders' concerns and plans to address potential problems.

The 33-Stanyan would not be rerouted, he said, until there were "overall service improvements" on Potrero Avenue bus lines to make up for a lack of 33 service.

About The Author

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Born and raised in San Francisco, Fitzgerald Rodriguez was a staff writer at the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and now writes the S.F. Examiner's political column On Guard. He is also a transportation beat reporter covering pedestrians, Muni, BART, bikes, and anything with wheels.
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