Geary Bus Rapid Transit

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Geary Bus Rapid Transit
HeadquartersOne South Van Ness Avenue, Seventh Floor
LocaleSan Francisco, California, United States
Service typeBus rapid transit
Routes38 Geary, 38R Geary Rapid, 38AX Geary A Express, 38BX Geary B Express
OperatorSan Francisco Municipal Railway
System map

Transbay Transit Center
Fremont Street
2nd Street
Bay Area Rapid Transit
New Montgomery
Van Ness
O'Farrell Street
side running
center running
6th Ave
Park Presidio
17th Ave
25th Ave
center running
side running
30th Ave
33rd Ave
dedicated lanes
street running
36th Ave
39th Ave
40th Ave
Alta Mar

The Geary Bus Rapid Transit project is designed to deliver bus rapid transit features to the San Francisco Municipal Railway's 38 Geary line, the busiest bus line in the city with about 54,000 daily riders.[1] The scheme plans to add red transit-only lanes to several sections of Geary Boulevard,[2] as well as consolidate some stops in a center-lane running configuration.

The project is split into phases. The first, dubbed Geary Rapid, encompasses the route from Market Street (where priority travel lanes were present previously) to Stanyan Street.[3] The second phase, the Geary Boulevard Improvements Project, will see improvements to the rest of the line.

Construction for the project began on October 1, 2018 with full implementation of the two phases expected by 2022.[4][5]

Project details[edit]

A newly-added red lane near Masonic Avenue in October 2018

Geary BRT provides transit service improvements primarily through the use of bus lanes. The project plans for red-painted bus priority lanes on most of the route of the 38-Geary along Geary Boulevard. These lanes would run along the side of the street adjacent to the curb or parking spaces on the section of the corridor east of Stanyan Street, which includes neighborhoods such as the Tenderloin and Japantown. The bus lanes would run in the center of the street west of Stanyan to around 27th Avenue in the Richmond District and Laurel Heights. The bus lanes then switch to side running from 27th Avenue to 34th Avenue.

The project will also implement transit improvements such as bulb-outs for bus stops and traffic signal updates. The combination of bus lanes and other improvements is expected to reduce travel times on the 38-Geary by 10-20% when traveling the entire route from 48th Avenue to the Transbay Transit Center.[6] This translates to roughly 10 minutes in travel time reduction on a trip that takes around one hour. The travel time reduction is expected to be 15-30% between Van Ness Avenue and 25th Avenue.[6]

In addition to transit service upgrades, the project is intended to improve pedestrian safety on the corridor. For example, the project includes several upgraded pedestrian crossings adjacent to Japantown.[7] Additionally, the project will narrow parts of Geary Boulevard to two lanes of automobile traffic down from three lanes.[1]


Previous use as a streetcar corridor[edit]

In the early 1900s, the Geary Boulevard corridor was served by streetcar routes such as the A Geary-10th Avenue, B Geary, and C Geary-California lines. These streetcar lines were all eliminated by 1956 as buses replaced streetcars in San Francisco.[8] Subsequently, replacement rail service on Geary was proposed multiple times, such as in the original plans for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.

Geary corridor planning[edit]

In 1989, the city of San Francisco approved Proposition B, a ballot measure that approved a half-cent sales tax for transportation. The expenditure plan that was included in the proposition prioritized the planning and implementation of transit expansion along four transit corridors including Geary Boulevard.[9] Subsequently, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) conducted a study, titled the Four Corridor Plan, to determine the details of the transportation improvements along the corridors included in the Proposition B plan.[10] The study called for a subway-surface rail line along Geary.

Refocused to bus rapid transit[edit]

Construction work in 2020

With the Proposition B tax expiring in 2010, the voters of San Francisco approved Proposition K in 2003 that extended the tax and established a new expenditure plan. The new plan funded the Geary Bus Rapid Transit project and mandated the implementation of a bus rapid transit network, with the first two lines consisting of Geary BRT and Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit. Proposition K mandates that Geary BRT be built to "rail-ready standards" to accommodate a planned future conversion to light rail.[11]

Subsequently, in 2007 the SFCTA published a feasibility report for the project.[12] Starting in 2008, the SFCTA started an environmental impact review process. In 2017, the SFCTA approved the final environmental impact report for the project after thirteen years of studying the feasibility and impacts for the proposed bus infrastructure.[2] With that milestone, the project was handed off to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for design and implementation. The federal Department of Transportation approved the project Environmental Impact Statement on June 1, 2018.[13] The final design of the first phase, after several revisions based on community input, was approved by the SFMTA board in August 2018 and is expected to begin implementation in late 2018.[1][14]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Muni installed Temporary Emergency Transit-only Lanes (TETL) projects on several transit corridors. The Geary TETL project included transit-only lanes between 15th Avenue and Stanyan, plus on some segments between 33rd Avenue and 24th Avenue, as well as several "transit head start" signals and wooden bus bulbs.[15] Preliminary analysis found that the Geary TETL project kept bus travel times from increasing as auto congestion returned.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Sisto, Carrie (August 2, 2018). "Tonight: SFMTA to preview final plans for first phase of 38-Geary makeover". Hoodline. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald (5 January 2017). "Transit officials approve key milestone for Geary bus project". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  3. ^ "SFMTA Board Approves Plans For Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project". Hoodline. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Transit and Safety Improvements Coming to Geary". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Toren, Michael (October 5, 2018). "Geary Rapid Project gets underway". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  6. ^ a b San Francisco County Transportation Authority (June 2018). Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (PDF) (Report). Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Rudick, Roger (April 10, 2018). "Update on 38 Geary Bus". Streetsblog SF. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  8. ^ "What Might Have Been: Geary". September 22, 2008. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  9. ^ "San Francisco Voter Information Pamphlet" (PDF). November 7, 1989. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  10. ^ San Francisco County Transportation Authority (June 1995). "Four Corridor Plan". Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "San Francisco Voter Information Pamphlet" (PDF). November 4, 2003. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  12. ^ San Francisco County Transportation Authority (June 2007). "Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Study, Feasibility Study Final Report" (PDF). Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  13. ^ Fitzgerald Rodriguez, Joe (June 21, 2018). "Geary Bus Rapid Transit gets environmental 'green light to advance' from Feds". San Francisco Examiner.
  14. ^ Swan, Rachel (August 22, 2018). "Muni approves bus lanes on Geary as critics see red over private shuttle use". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "38 Geary Temporary Emergency Transit Lanes". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
  16. ^ "Muni Emergency Measures Point to Longer Term Transit Goals" (Press release). San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. April 19, 2021.

External links[edit]