| March 2010
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By Karen Topakian
Muni riders, take note. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has proposed to help close a $16.9 million gap in this year's budget by making service cuts on all four Noe Valley transit lines: the 24-Divisadero, the 35-Eureka, the 48-Quintara/24th Street, and the J-Church rail line.
If the agency's plan is approved, the changes will go into effect on May 1.
Of the four lines, the 35-Eureka, which travels in a loop from Market and Castro through Noe Valley and Diamond Heights, would experience the biggest cuts in service. Hours of operation would be reduced from the current 5:30 a.m. to 11:20 p.m., to 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends). In addition, the buses would run every 30 minutes instead of every 20 minutes, seven days a week.
The real workhorse of Noe Valley, the J-Church line, would also see reductions in service. During the morning rush hour, 7 to 9 a.m., the SFMTA proposes to run the rail line every 10 minutes instead of the current nine. Midday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., trains would arrive every 12 minutes instead of 10.
From 4 to 6 p.m., wait times on the J would would go from 8 to 9 minutes; and during Muni's "evening" hours, 8 to 10 p.m., from 12 to 15. The frequency rate of the J on weekends would stay pretty much the same. Only the 7 to 9 a.m. hours would be affected, with wait times increased from 15 to 20 minutes.
The 24-Divisadero, which travels through Noe Valley on Castro and Noe streets, would have longer wait times, too. From 7 to 9 a.m. the bus would arrive every 12 minutes instead of the current nine. The rest of the day (till 6 p.m.), the 24 would pick up riders every 12 minutes, instead of 10. Evening wait times would stay the same: 20 minutes.
During the late shift, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., on both weekdays and weekends, the wait between buses would increase from 20 to 30 minutes. And during the 24's owl service, 1 to 5 a.m, the buses would come by only once an hour.
The 48-Quintara/24th Street bus, a welcome sight alon g 24th Street, would not be spared. The line would see a reduction in frequency on weekdays from 12 to 15 minutes during the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Morning and evening wait times would stay the same, 10 and 12 minutes, respectively.
On weekends, wait times on the 48 would go from 15 to 20 minutes. Late-night service also would be reduced from every 20 to every 30 minutes, with an end time of midnight seven days a week.
Exhausted yet? Well, hold on to your hat. The SFMTA was expected to take action on the FY 2010 plan on Feb. 26, just as the Voice was going to press. In addition, the agency was considering further service cuts--plus hikes in fares and parking fees--for fiscal years 2011 and '12.
To view the proposed changes or to offer your feedback, go to the agency's website at www.sfmta.com. You can also attend SFMTA-sponsored town hall meetings--on Wednesday, March 10, 6 p.m.; and Saturday, March 20, 10 a.m.--on the second-floor atrium at 1 South Van Ness Avenue.
Rail Work on J-Church Line
Meanwhile, Muni will be moving ahead with an $18.5 million rail improvement project on the J-Church line. Repairs this month will center on the intersections of Church Street and 18th Street and San Jose Avenue and 30th Street, and will include replacement of tracks, utility poles, curb ramps, pavement, and water pipes.
The 18th and Church work is scheduled to start Friday evening, March 12, and finish Monday morning, March 15. The San Jose and 30th Street segment is set for the weekends of March 19-22 and March 26-29.
Crews will work around the clock, but hope to keep noise and debris to a minimum. They'll finish by 4 a.m. Mondays, so as not to disturb the commute. During construction, Muni will provide shuttle buses from Church and Duboce streets to Balboa Park.
For more information, go to www.sfmta.com/rail.