Noe Valley Voice May 2012

Tinkering with the Stops Along Church Street

By Tim Innes

Noe Valleyans could see fewer stop signs along the J-Church line in the coming years, if the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) keeps rolling on down the tracks.

At a workshop at Fairmount School in April, MTA planners aired their latest ideas to cut travel time on Muni’s eight most heavily used transit routes. Among the eight is the J-Church, which carries more than 14,000 passengers on an average workday.

Proposed improvements, generated over the past year by TEP staff, include relocating some stops, eliminating several four-way stops, cracking down on double-parked vehicles, and designating transit-only lanes.

Traffic engineers believe these measures, along with all-door boarding, could increase the J’s average speed from eight miles an hour to nine, shaving three minutes off the travel time between Balboa Park Station and Church Street and Duboce Avenue.

In the Noe Valley portion of the four-mile stretch, planners proposed eliminating the Muni stop at Liberty Street and the northbound stop at 30th and Church streets and replacing four-way stop signs with traffic signals or traffic calming measures at 25th, 26th, Cesar Chavez, and Day streets. Transit planners also recommended adding sidewalk extensions and passenger bulbs at 22nd, Clipper, and 27th streets. (See J-Church Proposals, Transit Effectiveness Project, at

According to Tony Young, an MTA traffic engineer, Church Street currently has 10 stop signs between 22nd and 30th streets, including at all five intersections between 25th and 27th streets. There is also a traffic signal at 23rd Street.

While measures such as all-door boarding could be implemented quickly, other changes will take years to achieve, planners say. Drafting environmental impact reports, building political consensus, and awarding contracts mean it would be late 2014 before the neighborhood saw significant changes, according to the MTA’s timetable.

Last month’s workshop was part of a series the MTA is conducting to get feedback from riders and residents along the transit lines. Anyone who missed the local meeting will have another chance to evaluate options on Saturday, May 5. The session, from 10 a.m. to noon, will be held at SFMTA headquarters, One South Van Ness Ave. at Market Street.

You can also comment on the proposals by calling 311, visiting,or tweeting MuniRapid.