SF Transit Riders Statement on L Taraval Vote

Yesterday’s discussion of L Taraval improvements was long and complex. We did not get quite all that we hoped for out of it, but are gratified that the SFMTA Board is truly making safety their number one priority by taking a strong stance that boarding islands are no longer negotiable. So it seems that any stops that remain on Taraval will be upgraded with boarding islands, and this is a big win for pedestrian and rider safety.

Photo credit: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Chair Cheryl Brinkman was absolutely right in taking commenters to task for blaming incidents on “distracted” riders and pedestrians. Drivers are responsible for following the rules of the road, including obeying speed limits and stopping when passengers are getting off the train. It is never the fault of a rider who is stepping into a live lane of traffic, they have right of way.

Although we are a bit disappointed the Board couldn’t fully support better balanced stops along the L, we do recognize that the decision to remove stops is difficult and should not be done lightly. The Board came to a compromise to balance strong community feedback in support of retaining stops with the holistic goal of making the L Taraval faster. They voted to remove the inbound 35th and 17th Avenue stops, though 17th will be re-evaluated over the next six months. The 44th Avenue stops will remain for the time being, under the condition that they too are re-evaluated in the coming months.

We’re thankful to everyone who came out to share their views, as well as those who emailed in (not everyone can make a mid-afternoon weekday meeting).

We appreciate that the Board recognizes the need to have public transit that can compete with Uber and Lyft, in both travel time and reliability. And we really appreciate SFMTA Board Director Joel Ramos’ framing of the issue as building for the future of San Francisco, not just its past or present. Population will grow, and transit infrastructure needs to grow accordingly. We couldn’t agree more.