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Drivers On Mission Street Flout The Law

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A new policy to give a lane of traffic to Muni buses is hitting some bumps.

City planners hoped the plan would relieve congestion.

But San Francisco drivers seem to be ignoring new configurations on Mission Street. The idea was to give Muni buses a dedicated lane, eliminate left turns and force cars off Mission Street.

The plan is not a hit with local businesses.

Mission Street's new configuration includes long stretches of red zones that used to be parking spots. Merchants are worried that's making for some sparse sidewalks.

Erick Arguello, of the Calle 24 Merchant Association, said his business hasn't been impacted yet, but "Just historically looking at Mission Street, it's always been a place of hustle and bustle. And then when you see silence - no pedestrians - and just buses zipping through, it's kind of drastic."

As we first reported two weeks ago, SFMTA is applying fresh paint and putting up new signs commanding cars to make right turns every few blocks along Mission Street.

The changes have been quite sudden and have many drivers spontaneously deciding to disregard the right turn only signs and instead, zooming right through intersections.

Neighbors say there are even more problems.

Arguello said drivers are yelling at the traffic officers trying to direct traffic and that pedestrian was hit.

John Haley with the SFMTA said, "We are listening.  We've made some changes based on public feedback already."

Haley said the project is an effort to get the buses running faster; as studies show that more people here put a premium on public transportation and less on cars.

Haley said the SFMTA is working on improving the timing of the traffic lights. Also, he said they are putting more visible striping in the road

The transportation agency will be meeting with Mission Street neighbors - including a group of merchants and residents who had a strategy session Thursday afternoon.

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