Tuesday: Meeting to Discuss Rerouting the Muni 67 Bus on Ripley Street

67 Uphill


There’s been a long-simmering dispute between a group of north Bernal neighbors and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency over the location of the existing 67 Muni bus stop on Ripley Street near Folsom.

Bernalwood is told that a group of neighbors on Ripley really really really want the stop relocated, to avoid gumming up their street with two-way bus traffic.

Here are the specifics of the proposed change, along with the details about a community meeting taking place on Tuesday, January 28 to discuss the matter, via the SFMTA’s public announcement:

Proposed Change

The SFMTA, in response to neighborhood concerns, is proposing a reroute to the inbound 67 Bernal Heights (towards 24th Street BART) via Bernal Heights Boulevard. Buses traveling to the Mission District and 24th Street BART Station would travel on Bernal Heights Boulevard between Bradford and Folsom Streets. Buses traveling towards Cortland Ave. will travel on the existing routing. The proposed routing leads to the following stop changes:

  • The stop at the northwest corner of Ripley St. and Alabama St. would be discontinued.
  • The stop on Ripley at Folsom would move across the street to a stop on Folsom Street before the intersection with Ripley.
  • The stop on Bradford at Esmeralda would move back to the stop sign where Bernal Heights Boulevard and Bradford meet (approximately 80 feet south).

There are no proposed parking changes at this time. There are no planned changes to the street design as part of this project.

Public Outreach Meeting

This proposal will be discussed at a public meeting at the following date and time:

Tuesday, January 28 at 6:00 pm
San Francisco Public Library – Bernal Heights Branch 500 Cortland Avenue

If you have further questions or would like to submit comments regarding the reroute proposal, please contact:

Jeff Flynn
Transit Service Planning Manager – San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Phone: 415.701.4646
Email: jeffrey.flynn@sfmta.com

In advance of the meeting, Bernalwood has received some strongly-worded commentary about the proposed rerouting from several Bernal neighbors. A flyer circulated by Neighbor Veronica says:

Long term residents are been left out of the conversation regarding changes – the notices are limited to a small number of people and not given enough time.

  • We having people who don’t use the service attempt to change something that has been working for over 30 years.
  • The issues they are attempting to tackle can be easily tackled with technology (i.e. communication or mapping devices we use on our phones to see where the buses are.)
  • Our taxes pay for this service.

From your neighbors who use this service all the time, we ask that you support us in keeping this service intact by EMAILING:

Another neighbor summarizes the state of play this way:

The Ripley folks between Alabama and Folsom are lobbying the SFMTA and David Campos to reroute the inbound 67 (toward BART) over Bernal Heights Blvd to avoid the buses passing and getting “stuck” on Ripley.  There’s only one bus line that serves the North Slope and moving the stop at Ripley and Alabama to Bradford and Bernal Heights Blvd effectively cuts it down to ½ bus service.  I use the bus every day to get to BART and I’m perfectly capable of walking to Ripley and Folsom (although my dogs are going to be barking in my high heeled shoes) but there are a number of elderly and disabled persons who may not be able to swing the uphill walk.

A neighbor who now rides the 67 regularly comments:

I moved offices and can now take the 67 every day to work. Its proximity to my house was in the plus column when I bought this place 4+ years ago, after having lived in Bernal 7 years prior. When I had surgery, and couldn’t drive for a month, that stop being across the street meant I could go to the farmers market and up to Cortland for groceries and to be in the world. I would have been isolated otherwise. When I imagine myself being twice my age, still living here, it’s comforting to imagine the same could happen. […]

I worry about the elderly neighbors on Alabama who I think will be more isolated if this goes through. I worry that total ridership might go down and that that might catch the eye of downtown number-crunchers looking at lines to cut. The 67 is really a connector for Bernal, and I don’t want to see that go away.

I’m sure people who live between Alabama and Folsom on Ripley would be thrilled to see the change. That block is narrow and driving it can be kind of a pain. Frankly, though, it feels very Bernal-y, every time I drive that block and see an approaching 67 and pull over so it can pass. The driver and I wave to each other. It’s friendly and neighborly.

And a neighbor on Folsom writes:

Wow! The SFMTA actually listened to the neighbors. I’m impressed. Ripley neighbors will rejoice!

This isn’t so bad, but then, I don’t know anyone who will be directly affected by the changes. I’m not sure how many people use the Ripley/ Alabama stop [that will be discontinued], but making the bus stop at the top of Folsom at Ripley isn’t so bad. I like the idea of the bus stopping at the top of the hill. It seems like people would want that, instead of having to walk a couple more blocks up. There were more extreme options, including making Ripley one way.

My only concern is that there is much more traffic on Folsom that will have to stop or go around buses. Perhaps that will slow people down but… probably not.

Proposals like this are inevitably contentious, so if you have an interest in the matter, Tuesday’s meeting at the Bernal library will be a good place to make your views known.

PHOTO: Top, Telstar Logistics

47 thoughts on “Tuesday: Meeting to Discuss Rerouting the Muni 67 Bus on Ripley Street

  1. Eliminating the Ripley/Alabama stop will make it much harder or even impossible for those with walking problems to reach any bus stop in the area, especially the Bernal Hts./Bradford stop. The walk from Ripley/Alabama would be up a very steep hill with the possibility of falling. That’s why the stop was there in the first place, to serve at least some neighbors in the northeast area. While a few new neighbors will be unhappy I think the stop should stay as is.

  2. Just remove parking from one side of Ripley so buses and cars can glide through unobstructed. All but 2 dwellings have garages, for those people they can park atop the Harrison Street Stairs. This will save the elderly from change, and “stuck” buses. Transit first city!

    • This was apparently proposed, but rejected by the neighbors on Ripley. From an email sent by Jeff Flynn from SFMTA:

      This has been a yearlong process to date. Here’s a summary of where we’ve been:
      1. Last January we met with the community to discuss the safety issues with buses passing on Ripley
      2. In response, by Spring 2013, we retrained operators and implemented new schedules where scheduled passing would not occur.
      3. Noting that the situation with buses passing and causing a safety issue was still occurring, we met with the community in August to discuss a safer way to pass and presented an option that would have “passing pockets” on Ripley Street. The passing pockets would be created by eliminating about four parking spaces in the first trial.
      4. The passing pocket legislation was scheduled to go to the SFMTA Board in October however the community objected to the parking loss.
      5. Now we’re proposing rerouting in one direction only to eliminate the possibility of a passing conflict completely.

    • +1 Ben

      If people would just organize their garage and throw out half the crap they don’t really need then they could probably use their garages and this crisis would be avoided.

  3. walking from ripley and alabama to ripley and folsom is 1 block… if that’s a problem for you, try living on the south slope!

    It might be better if they just reverse the outbound/inbound routes having inbound use ripley and outbound using bernal heights blvd. that way the stop on ripley/alabama can be preserved going inbound so people don’t have to walk up the steep part of alabama. then coming home they can get off at ripley and alabama and walk downhill one block.

      • i agree with you in general but I ride this bus and that turn and the whole ripley portion just feels unsafe to me. i realize it’s been that way for 30 years but it’s very roller coaster like. I support the changes as it seems difficult for the bus drivers to maneuver

    • “S” I’m guessing you may not actually be familiar with Ripley Street because it is not just one block from Alabama to Folsom, it is actually 3 blocks, and it is up a pretty good grade (Alabama to Harrison, Harrison to Treat and Treat to Folsom). Some folks have also mistakenly said that a bus stop was being added on Folsom at Ripley when in fact there has always been and inbound stop on Ripley at Folsom. So the proposal was to eliminate a bus stop not add one. You suggest that a possible solution to the problem would be to eliminate the outbound stop at Ripley and Alabama instead, but do you realize that would mean that passengers who would normally have gotten off the bus at Ripley and Alabama would now have to get off the bus on Folsom at Ripley and cross Folsom while trying to dodge cars coming around the turn off of Bernal Heights Blvd onto Folsom St. There currently is no crosswalk or stop sign at that spot and can’t imagine there could ever be a safe spot to cross Folsom St. Finally, any thought of routing the 67 onto Bernal Heights Blvd. should not be done without soliciting input from the nieghborhood because there are many pedestrians, families, dog walkers and joggers who currently use the park at the top of the hill. Last night’s meeting was very civil. Muni listened to the residents of Ripley St and those who use Muni. Looks like the matter has gone back to the drawing board for further study. Hopefully, we can work together to find a solution to address legitimate safety issues related to the 67 while maintaining efficient service for all Muni passengers.

  4. The Muni is supposed to serve the residents of SF; as such it makes more sense to keep the routing on Ripley than to use a part of Folsom where people don’t live simply as a quick way to get the bus back to its terminal. Looks to me like the people who want the bus moved to Folsom don’t actually USE the Muni.

    As to meetings and such, if people ride the Muni they should subscribe to their mailing lists and get informed about proposed changes. Public transit is a changing thing because people’s habits change.

    • “Looks to me like the people who want the bus moved to Folsom don’t actually USE the Muni.” Kind of how people who oppose the Google busses don’t actually use the Google busses…

  5. Rerouting the BART-bound 67 bus stop to Bernal Hts Blvd makes no sense. This is what Transit First is all about – getting people to BART. There is actually a huge number of riders who live on Alabama or its cross streets, close to Ripley. Many people are elderly and not able to walk up the steep path to Bernal Hts Blvd, which frankly isn’t a very safe walk (e.g., lack of clear walkways, broken sidewalks, sun-blinded car drivers).

    As far as I can tell, the bus line has been in operation for more than 30 years. Many people live near the 67 stop because of the transit provided.

    Here’s a simple idea for our time and place: 2014, San Francisco the tech capital of the world and a Transit First city.
    The rare challenge of two buses passing can be easily hacked by some form of communication between drivers. Maybe MUNI hasn’t figured out a solution yet, but let’s not throw in the towel. There has to be a way for a bus driver already on Ripley to communicate to the other driver to wait. Can this really be rocket science? Perhaps we can have a simple, Bernal community hackathon?

    That aside, slight inconveniences are part of living on the wonderful small streets of Bernal Heights.

    • I feel like running the bus on BH Blvd will make it faster…If you look at the map the only stop affected is the ripley/alabama stop and only going 1 way

      • (Replying to S)
        I don’t care about shaving minutes off the route, espec by eliminating an entire well-used stop. As I hope I made clear, the point is to get the maximum number of people to BART, so that they don’t drive. Eliminating a stop is counter to the whole concept of Transit First.

      • The stop is not really being eliminated – it’s being moved 1 block over. It’s not the end of the world here.

    • Contrary to what someone said, this IS about possibly eliminating a stop. It wouldn’t be moved, it would be eliminated. The other stop already exists and nothing is being added. We need to make sure people of ALL walking abilities can continue to use the bus and go to BART.

      • According to Muni, this is not a busy stop. 15 people per day on average use this stop – that’s it. Outbound nothing changes at all. Inbound, there is only a one block change – while having these folks walk a block might cause some inconvenience, it’s a better alternative than having 40 foot long buses backing-up Ripley Street and running over sidewalks.

  6. So, I’m curious, which of these bus routes will result in people driving down Stoneman actually stopping at the stop sign before they attempt suicide-by-T-bone from the cars and busses going down Folsom? That’s the one that gets my vote.

    Oh, and if you’re rerouting it makes more sense to re-route it the OTHER direction so that people that have to walk past their grumbly neighbors on Ripley can at least walk downhill.

  7. For all the tenor of YIMBY-ism on this blog–well, at least in the whispers of our community’s consciousness–Bernal is also rich in NIMBY-ism, and for the same reasons it rears its head anywhere: personal bias, bitter axes to grind, pure elitism, and the old standards, utter selfishness and its good pal, abject stupidity. One can be faux progressive–as many here are–and stay “no” to change. Indeed, it can be progressive to consider an issue and do nothing, while sometimes change is surely the wrong direction to go in.

    What seems like common sense dictates that the bus stop remain where it is, as it has for decades. What has perhaps changed in that area is not density of population (certainly) or of private vehicles (at least not by that much) but density of cash in the pockets of some folks who wish to relieve their street of a very slight inconvenience at the expense of folks who truly need the stop to stay where it is (and who have likely been here long before the moneyed masses came calling).

    And maybe also, as suggested by others, there is an issue with the longest-standing residents when it comes to street density: there likely also a density of complete crap in people’s garages that make parking increasingly hard on Ripley, as in virtually every other street in the City. Oh, gosh, how much better of we would be if SF residents would ever get a clue, get a storage unit, and get a sense of communal responsibility–all together now.

    If the stop is to move–for no good reason–then I agree that it would be better if the re-routing involved the south-bound route, not the north-bound one. Having it move at all and also to a comparatively desolate area–just to avoid having two buses cross in the night–would not be a decision based on a public service, which a bus line is, but based on residential preference and the screeching of what may very well be a shrill minority.

    If the stop does not move, the drivers can very easily have a way to communicate with each other (and one can wait for wait would likely be no more than a minute or so).

  8. This is slightly off-topic, but regardless if the stop stays or moves, it would be nice if the frequency of the bus would increase – especially in peak times. 20 minutes is something that works eventually during slow times during the day or later in the evening, but is fairly inconvenient during rush-hour. Having a 10 minute frequency between 7-9 AM and 5-8 PM would probably convince even more folks to leave their car at home and to catch the bus.

    • Excellent idea (even if it may only congest the street more at certain times). If a person gets to the 24th St. BART station after 6 PM, it is sometimes faster to walk even to the southern side of Bernal Hill–even taking the same route as the bus–than to wait for and take the bus. And that is serious terrain. Only able-bodied need apply, but the exercise rocks.

      It’s sad that the public transportation infrastructure is so bad in SF that increasing bus frequency even slightly is preposterous to many and often appears to be completely untenable, as if asking for a speed train from the Marina to Daly City. Some can crow about how not enough people take the 67 bus, but if you’re ever on it when times are busy–and getting knocked around by backpacks, balancing delicately as someone scarfs down a Big Mac loaded precariously with cheese, and inhaling the breath of a colorful character warming your cheek–you may too wish for more buses.

      One can judge a city based on how it cares for those who need public services, including transportation, and how much is invested in it. SF grades woefully in such areas, and the sad fact is that this is known to all of us. Both “too cool for school”–public education is not great, hence (in part) the drain of families from the city–and “too cool for buses.” Maybe only in SF would there be a bus line that is as infrequent as the 67 that people want to move somewhere else, just to suit their own personal desire for peace or whatever it is they wish to satiate.

      The infrequency of the line also smells of racial and economic discrimination: the southern-most part of Bernal (rubbing up on Bayview) that is served by the line is surely not an area of town that is high on the list to develop for the public good or its current residents (at least not longtime ones). If its’ expensive housing along the bay, then fine. Just please don’t ask for what is truly needed in SF, since you won’t get it.

      If only the city’s political leaders will read more about how Bernal is THE place to live in SF, as we always read here and dream in our hearts. Money talks, maybe loudly enough to get a bus to come 5 minutes more frequently when we would really need one. You can get the city you pay for, but the price tag is always changing.

      • By they way, “BART” is an acronym, so it is capitalized. “Muni” is an abbreviation for Municipal Railway” and is not capitalized, except the first letter. Most of us say “the Muni” because it’s short for “the Municipal Railway”, but we don’t put “the” in front of BART because it sounds dumb. (Also, while on that track, so to speak, the area south of Market street is properly called “South of Market” or “South of the Slot”, but never “SOMA” unless you’re a dork.

        That said, there are funding differences that account for the runs of certain Muni lines. “Community Service” lines such as the 67, 53, 36, etc., are funded with federal money for the disabled and elderly, whereas lines such as the 14 Mission come from general transit funding. Thus, the 67 will be empty a lot of the time, but have a consistent schedule and the 14 will be jam packed and have as many runs as they can logistically put on the line, with more during prime time and less on the off-hours. It’s really a budgeting thing.

        See, the thing is that there are few simple answers. One must talk with people who know about these things and find out why things are the way they are. There’s always a reason and it’s often not what you think it is at all.

      • I DISAGREE that the public transit infrastructure is “bad”. SF moves a larger percentage of its population via public transit than any other city in the nation, including New York. People forget that SF’s streets cannot be widened, and must share transit, auto, bike, and ped traffic. Also, the Muni operates the most diverse fleet of vehicles in the WORLD – cable cars, historic streetcars, LRVs, articulated LRVs, trolley buses, small diesels, medium diesels, and large articulated diesels. Due to the nature of the rail vehicles, for instance, some kinds of streetcars can run on some streets and not on others.

        We want hybrids and electric vehicles to cut down on pollution. Also, the trolley buses are FAR more efficient at climbing our notorious hills than diesels are. SF’s Muni was always on top of that with the largest fleet of electric street vehicles in the COUNTRY.

        But electric vehicles can’t easily go around each other when jammed up. In recent years the Muni has invested in trolley buses with batteries that allow them to go “off-pole” for several blocks to drive around a disabled vehicle or a traffic jam. But that takes time.

        REMEMBER that when you see streetcars or trolley buses bunched together, the LAST vehicle is the one that’s on time; the ones in front of it were delayed due to people double-parking their cars, road construction, ambulances, fire trucks, parades, protest marches, or general congestion.

        DON’T BLAME THE MUNI for these problems. They do SUPERB work in a city that is highly congested. I have been on advisory committees for the Muni, and I know from talking with people who actually work day to day at the Muni what they go through. They get all the blame and none of the praise for moving 500,000 people a day through streets designed for horses..

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  11. Leave it where it is!!

    As has been noted in the previous comments, if one was to even propose the change why wouldn’t it be in the other direction so at least the north-east slopers could walk downhill when they got off the bus. Plus, there is already a stop at the top at Bradford.

    In addition, if this is such a cluster**k for the Ripleyites, perhaps the buses could wait at the bus stop for 30 seconds while the other bus passes. I also agree with a previous poster, no parking on one side of Ripley during 67 operational hours would be a compromise solution of having the big bad tewwible transit vehicles mucking up their street – and what’s a’matter with the proposed passing pockets anyway? Sounds like a perfect compromise, but it seems the “community” on Ripley deems it a little strong. It sounds like they don’t want a compromise, and the next step will have both directions completely re-routed away from the north-east slope.

    IMHO, making people who live in the quadrant from Alabama eastward walk that crazily steep portion from Ripley up to Bradford is very, very lame. Or else they would have to walk over to Folsom and Precita, while an easy walk, would add considerable time to a morning commute. Plus, there is the older folk to consider. We’ve already seen a cutback in service on this line regarding hours of operation and this would just be one more nail in the coffin.

    That single inbound stop (Ripley & Alabama) for the inbound to BART and MIssion Street is the ONLY connection for the upper north-east slope. This makes no sense. The 27 goes down Bryant, which last I looked doesn’t really connect with BART. There are always people waiting there at that stop during the morning commute.

    This isn’t a knock an MUNI, as the previous poster S suggested, as they make do with limited resources. It is knock at the short-sightedness and NIMBY-ness people instigating the change of service. I haven’t read anywhere that the drivers are driving (pun alert!) this change.

    Looks like a spirited time in the ole library tonight.

  12. As a long-time Bernal Heights resident (20 years on Ripley, believe it or not) I support the proposed change. This very minor change adapts to the increased congestion in the neighborhood. It will be safer for pedestrians and will remove a bottleneck that slows the 67 and makes it unreliable all down the line. It will slightly inconvenience some people who will have to walk an extra block, but it will move the stop towards others who will have to walk one block less. Those with walking difficulties will either lose or benefit, depending on where they live in relation to the stop. However, overall the results will be neutral in terms of walking, but beneficial in terms of safety and function.

    One of the problems MUNI has is that the routes reflect the transit needs of the City many decades ago. MUNI is adapted to taking people downtown and to the Civic Center in the morning and bringing them back in the evening, as was needed in the 1970’s and before. Increasingly, transit needs have changed. In addition, some streets are too congested to be safe MUNI pathways. But in SF, routes are practically never changed because those served by existing routes and stops are upset at the idea of change, but those underserved who would benefit are hardly aware of the possibility.

    If we are to have a well-functioning public transit system, it must adapt and change as the City changes. Here we see in microcosm the reason is is so difficult to do.

    • Can you share a link with the stats that show the number of cars on Bernal streets increasing? Where was the increased construction or rerouting of traffic through our neighborhood?
      If anything, I see way more bike traffic in San Francisco than I ever have and I see CalTrain is full.(read they have record numbers of riders) Of course we know about those corporate buses as well.

    • It’s disingenuous to suggest that this is about “improving” transit. It’s not the case that transit riders are agitating for this change; owners of private automobiles on Ripley are complaining about occasional congestion due to buses, but are unwilling to have any skin in the game via giving up a handful of parking spaces to alleviate the problem.

      • I ride the bus AND welcome this change. to be honest I’m surprised the bus even makes it up alabama from ripley! changes should make this a less bumpy and more speedy ride to bart.

    • The word is “Muni” not “MUNI” as anybody who has lived here “20 years” should know. Secondly, Muni routes are re-evaluated from time to time, which resulted, for instance, in the re-routing of many lines a few years ago.

      It’s obvious that you don’t take the bus if you are suggesting that the return trip be routed though a park instead of past homes where people actually live. You KNEW you were moving into a congested area 20 years ago when you moved to Bernal. So, quit your beefing.

    • This is one of the most STUPID remarks I’ve ever read here. Muni management are transit geeks. They talk about transit; they dream about transit. They WANT to do a good job. It’s likely that the 67 ran short of drivers or equipment failure. During the morning commute, every available vehicle is put out on the road, but there will always be equipment breakdowns (especially given SF’s notorious hills), and drivers calling in sick.

      People don’t want the Muni to raise fares, so they can’t do as many runs as they’d like. That’s the bottom line.

      SF Muni has among the cheapest fares in the nation. While some agencies may charge less than $2, nobody offers the GENEROUS free transfers that the Muni does. Also, the senior and student discounts are DIRT CHEAP. Believe me, I’m a transit geek and I know these things.

      You folks are getting a BARGAIN with the Muni, so don’t bitch; instead why don’t you lead a crusade to increase fares so that the Muni can be properly funded. I’d suggest $3 a ride.

      • David, take a deep breath. It’ll be ok.

        Did you actually believe that I thought someone at Muni read this thread, then decided to punish residents of Bernal for making a few unfavorable comments? Seriously?

  13. If I’m not mistaken there was a proposal a few years ago to remove the Ripley segment all together and have the 67 go down Alabama to Precita, then cut by the park to Folsom and then simply reverse that for going up Alabama. It died, but I wonder who was behind that back then?

    Muni seems to be bending over backwards for the residents of Ripley, while they should be putting their transit geek beanies on and making the 67 work best for all residents of Bernal.

    Regardless of what some people seem to think, the 67’s link to the 24th street BART station is important for all Bernal residents. .

  14. The 27 does connect to BART as it goes up 5th St from Bryant. However, we really still need the 67. There is also a proposal in the works to “merge” the 27 and the 12 (which is the one that runs along Folsom). If both the proposal regarding the 67 and the proposal re: the 27/12 go through, it’s really going to be bedlam trying to get to BART. Keep contacting Dave Campos and the transit planners, neighbors!

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