This article about the proposed curtailment of the 36 Teresita bus service was written by Joe Humphreys for the Midtown Terrace website. It is re-published here with permission and added emphasis. (Thanks, Joe!) The map of proposed changes that we published here recently is appended for ready reference.
The San Francisco Planning Department and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency have issued an “Initial Study” for the “Transit Effectiveness Project”. The study is, apparently, the first step towards numerous changes in San Francisco’s public transit system. Most of this 381-page document is consumed with arguments as to why the many changes will result in “improvements” to that system. Somewhat buried in that document and its two appendixes, however, are recommended changes to the 36 Teresita service that provides public transportation to the residents of Midtown Terrace and Forest Knolls.
The changes are generally similar to changes that were proposed and defeated a couple of years ago. They eliminate part of the existing route and would use vans instead of Muni buses to provide service on the remaining route. Under the previous proposal, service would have been eliminated on some of the steeper streets of Midtown Terrace and in all of Forest Knolls. The current proposal would not make route changes in Midtown Terrace but would eliminate service in Forest Knolls. (Perhaps, the planners feel it would be easier to pick off one community at a time.)
The proposed change from bus to van service does not give any indication of the nature of the vans but simply says “Recommended for van service, but the timeline for van procurement is uncertain.” It also does not say whether or not the van service would run at the same frequency as the existing service.
The Midtown Terrace and Forest Knolls communities already suffered a degradation of bus service in the last round of changes when the frequency during the day was reduced from 20 minutes to a half hour. The areas served by this bus are very steep and further curtailment of service would work a hardship on residents who depend on this line and a particular hardship on the increasing numbers of elderly residents who have limited or no ability to drive. (And, for all residents it goes against the general public policy of encouraging use of public transit as an alternative to driving.)
The substitution of van service for bus service requires careful study. Many older residents use the bus for shopping. Would vans accommodate their shopping bags as well as the buses do? The 36 is also used as transportation to the Glen Park Bart station which provides service t0 the San Francisco and Oakland Airports. Would the proposed vans provide reasonable space for a suitcase? Would vans be of sufficient size to accommodate all of those in these neighborhoods who use the service during commute hours to connect with other routes?
The SFMTA “Initial Study” is apparently a lead up to the development of an environmental impact report. Comments on the proposals and issues that should be considered in that report can be made by writing to
San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
URGENT: The period for making comments closes on February 22, 2013