Proposed Curtailment of 36 Teresita Service, by Joe Humphreys

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
Attention: TEP
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103
or email to

URGENT:  The period for making comments closes on February 22, 2013

36 teresita sm


Will the 36 Teresita drop Forest Knolls?

Someone drew my attention to the new SF MTA study released January 23rd. Though the 36 Teresita bus (the only one that comes through our neighborhood) is not mentioned in the actual report, it shows up in the maps. It looks like the plan is to discontinue service to Forest Knolls, and maybe at some point replace it with a van service. The map below is taken from that report. (The whole report is available as a PDF HERE.)

36 teresita sm

Traffic Calming on Warren Drive – When?

[Edited 16 Sept 2012 to correct and clarify the dates and time line.]

Back in December 2010  mid-2008, neighbor Beverly Mack put in a request to the San Francisco MTA for traffic calming on Warren Drive, one of our neighborhood’s main streets. The issues were speeding, particularly on the curves and cut-through traffic.  Warren Drive has steep slopes and blind curves, with children often present. Parents park on the street to walk their kids down to the Clarendon School via the Ashwood Lane stairs. What they asked for was two speed-bumps.

The form needs ten signatures from neighbors; they got fifteen.

Here is a PDF of the application for Traffic Calming to SF MTA

SF MTA issued Beverly an acceptance letter in December 2010. In this acceptance letter, SF MTA noted that while it had accepted the application, that didn’t mean they would do anything right away.

Excerpt from SF MTA acceptance letter 2010

(The PDF is here: Acceptance ltr (10-0458) SF MTA Warren Drive Traffic Calming)

I guess it was a fair warning, because nearly two years later, exactly nothing has happened.

Beverly called SFMTA, and found the project is currently 14th out of 39 projects. She got an email from SF MTA that said, “Sometimes this ranking does shift as new applications are accepted and meet additional criteria (vehicle speeds and volume, recorded collisions, evidence of cut-through traffic, parks and schools nearby, etc). The traffic calming program is currently being evaluated and no new applications will be reviewed until Spring 2013 which means your ranking should not change.”  (By implication, they aren’t clearing any either.)  It’s a funding issue, apparently.

(What I’ve heard, true or not, is that it takes actual collisions to move the project up the rankings so they start acting on it.)


Even once the project starts, it takes time to accomplish.

So there it is: Despite all the effort, it looks unlikely anything will be done for another year or two — at best.

Does anyone have any ideas? If so, email Beverly:  BMack4paws  at

[Edited to Add: One way to help is to call or email the SF MTA.  Jeffrey Banks at 701-5331, email is]

Meanwhile: SF MTA has a questionnaire out, seeking feedback  about customer satisfaction. There’s one section where you can leave a comment. Perhaps that’s an opportunity to push this neighborhood’s needs.

Here is the link to the survey:

Muni, Clipper and Me

On Saturday  (2 Oct 2010) I took the Muni downtown from Forest Hill Station. I do this often enough that I know the drill, but seldom enough that I don’t carry a pass – or have the correct change. I always need to use the change machines.

But on Saturday they were out of service. Every single one was blocked with yellow tape. I looked at the station-master in puzzlement. She waved me over to new ticket machines on the other side of the station. Those didn’t need the exact change, they worked with credit cards. And they issued paper tickets at $2 for a single trip, $4 for a return fare.

Whatever happened to the transfer with the 90-minute validity? I wasn’t sure.  (It was academic, anyway. I was meeting friends for lunch; it would take more than 90 minutes.) After a little fumbling, I got a return ticket. It had a nice picture of the ballpark on the front.

On the back were a couple of icons indicating how to pay (just tap your card on the reader); and some fine print.

I couldn’t figure out what was meant by “A 90-minute transfer will be calculated automatically from initial time of entry.” I went looking on the SFMTA website, but that was some miles away from being crystal clear…

By contrast, here’s what the old-now-obsolete transfer said on the back:

That’s crystal clear.

So anyway, I called 311, and within a minute or two (at 11.30 at night!) got a helpful lady who assured me that I could use the colorful-but-baffling ticket in exactly the same way as the old Muni transfer. It really was valid for 90 minutes from the time of entry, so if I took a short trip downtown, I didn’t have to buy a return ticket.

I’ll be trying it out one of these days, and will update this post then. I might even break down and get a Clipper card. It’s the San Franciscan thing to do. [ETA: It works. It’s valid for 90 minutes, no problem.]

(Other than that confusion, things were going reasonably well. Transit staff were on duty everywhere telling people what they needed to do.)

MUNI Again…meetings in March/April 2010

Someone gave us a heads up on Muni – it’s short of funds, it needs more cuts, and its having public meetings about it.

Here’s the MUNI letter:


“Dear Community Leaders and Transit Colleagues,
The SFMTA Board of Directors confronts a challenging budget situation for both the current fiscal year and the next two-year budget cycle. After layoffs and other cost-cutting measures that began last November, the SFMTA still faces a current-year $16.9 million shortfall.
The solutions before the Agency and those impacted by its decisions are both painful and unpopular.
Proposed solutions include:
Reduced frequencies and shorter service hours for Muni
• Muni fare increases and parking fee and fine increases

Your opinion counts. Please attend one of the following meetings to learn more and to provide public comment.

FY 2010 Focus
Town Hall Meetings, One South Van Ness Ave. @ Market St., 2nd Floor Atrium
Saturday, Feb. 6 – 10 a.m. to noon
Tuesday, Feb. 9 – 6 to 8 p.m.

SFMTA Board Meeting, City Hall Room 400
Tuesday, Feb. 16 – 9 a.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)

FY 2011-2012 Focus
Town Hall Meetings, One South Van Ness Ave. @ Market St., 2nd Floor Atrium
Wednesday, March 10 – 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 20 – 10 a.m.

SFMTA Board Meetings, City Hall Room 400
Tuesday, March 30 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, April 6 – 2 p.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)
Tuesday, April 20 – 2 p.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)

If you cannot attend one of the meetings, visit for details or send an e-mail to sfmtabudget@ or call 311.


Judson True
Communications Manager


As of now, the proposal for reduced frequencies does not appear to affect the 36 Teresita bus service.  It does affect the K,L,M lines that pass through Forest Hill Station, and several others as well.

Public Transport

[This has been edited and updated on Dec 06, 2009.]


The closest Muni station is the Forest Hill station, (where you can get the K,L, M and T lines), opposite Laguna Honda Hospital. The closest BART station is at Glen Park, where, ironically, there is no parking.

Forest Knolls is served by one bus-route, the 36 Teresita, which operates between Forest Hill Station, Forest Knolls, and Midtown Terrace. (Following a recent route-change on that stretch, the other leg of the route goes from Forest Hill Station out to Glen Park BART station and on to St Luke’s Hospital at Cesar Chavez & Valencia – see below).

Here’s the new route of the 36 Teresita (dark pink). The dotted black lines show a discontinued route.


Starting 5 December, 2009, the 36 Teresita was re-routed to go to Glen Park BART station and St. Luke’s Hospital (part of the 26 route) instead of Balboa Park.

  • The section between Forest Hill Muni station and Forest Knolls was not affected.
  • The service now stops at 11 p.m. (last bus at 11 p.m. at Forest Hill Station and 11.10 from St Luke’s Hospital)
  • The rush-hour frequency was formerly 20 minutes, but is now 30 minutes. (It was 20 minutes on weekdays 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m., 30 minutes at other times).

Details on all Muni route changes are here.

The the MTA website still shows the old routes, but they’re fixing it. When it’s done, it will have route information and a time-table.

The former route is shown below.

Route map for 36 Teresita (not to scale)
Route map for 36 Teresita (not to scale)