Richmond residents want to terminate Clement bus line at 33rd Ave.

by Jonathan Farrell

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency representatives got an earful of complaints at a community meeting on Oct. 6 about the change in bus service to the Muni #2 Clement Street bus line. It travels from Clement to downtown, to Sutter and Sansome streets in the Financial District, and then loops back.

The meeting at the Richmond Station was hosted by SF Supervisor Eric Mar and the transit outreach department of SFMTA. The #2 Clement bus line was recently shortened in an effort to cut costs. More than 40 people showed up to ask the SFMTA (or Muni) to reconsider its plan for the western terminus of the line.

Those who gathered voiced concerns. They said the route change has increased traffic issues at the intersection, which has become chaotic. A majority of residents want the bus line restored to its original route, which ended at 33rd Avenue.

Since reducing the length of the bus line, to start and end at 14th Avenue, residents in the Outer Richmond say they are underserved. They want service restored, even if less frequent.

Lulu Feliciano, Dustin White and Kevin Keck, SFMTA representatives, listened to each resident speak but reiterated that the changes to service were made because of low-ridership and a budget deficit. They told the audience that shorting the line saves Muni $1.3 million a year.

Residents expressed skepticism, asking for more data.

"Show us the numbers," one man said.

Only a map of the changed route was handed out and details were vague at the meeting as information was shown only via a Powerpoint slide show.

Despite service changes, residents, like Poly Rose, continue to rely on the bus line.

"It's a great ride to downtown," she said.

Mar said he too has ridden the #2 Clement bus and agrees many people use it. Mar wants to help resolve the situation properly rather than take a "kick-the-can-down-the-road" approach.

As of now, where the line starts and ends on 14th Avenue at Clement, the noise and congestion from the buses has changed the quality of life of a peaceful neighborhood. Residents on the block and surrounding area lamented repeatedly how noise starts before 5 a.m.

When officials announced the change in service back in July of last year, residents and merchants implored SFMTA officials to rethink their plans. After implementing the change in service 10 months ago, residents are not happy with the outcome.

Presently, Muni is considering only three options for adjusting service to the #2 Clement bus line.

All three options consider the use of 14th, 15th or Funston avenues as the starting and ending points for the bus line. Unanimously, residents who spoke at the meeting said that to ensure safety and most efficient use, the bus line must not have its terminus, where buses sit idling, to start or end in front of resident homes or merchant establishments. Residents are persistent in their reasoning that the three options are not acceptable and that the bus line should be restored to its original route.

Long-time residents who live along 14th and 15th avenues, like David Dippel, Winnie Seto and Bill Pearson, all said the service change has not been good.

SFMTA reps said to restore the bus line to its original service is not a feasible option.

n Residents concerns will be presented to the SFMTA commission by the end of the year. For more information or to voice concerns, contact SFMTA transit outreach manager Lulu Feliciano at (415) 701-4453 or via e-mail at lulu.feliciano