5 Fulton from Market Street to La Playa
Muni’s 5 Fulton bus route carries about 19,000 daily customers on an average weekday. The route’s study corridor is 5.6 miles long and includes Fulton Street between La Playa and Central Avenue, Central Avenue between Fulton and McAllister streets, and McAllister Street between Central Avenue and Market Street. Within the study corridor, the 5 Fulton serves over 13,000 customers on an average weekday.
Within the study area, the 5 Fulton operates at an average speed of 9.7 miles per hour during peak periods. Sources of delay include closely spaced bus stops, traffic congestion and frequent STOP signs along the route in the Western Addition.
In order to reduce transit travel times and improve reliability, the SFMTA proposes a toolkit of measures within the study area. The proposals include:
- Increasing bus stop spacing from 1.5 blocks to two blocks east of Arguello Boulevard and from two blocks to three blocks in the Richmond District. Currently, the 5 Fulton stops about every 1.5 blocks between Market Street and Arguello Boulevard and about every two blocks in the Richmond District. This proposal moves toward a two-block spacing between Market Street and Arguello Boulevard where blocks are longer and toward a three-block spacing in the Richmond District where blocks are shorter. By stopping fewer times, the bus would take less time to move through the corridor.
- Optimizing bus stop locations at 12 intersections. Relocating bus stops from the near-side to the far-side of intersections would allow buses to take advantage of planned transit signal priority improvements that could allow traffic signals to be programmed to hold green lights for approaching buses. Where the 5 Fulton turns at the STOP-controlled intersection of Central Avenue and McAllister Street, this proposal would relocate the bus stops to the near-side of the intersection, eliminating the need for buses to stop once for the STOP sign and again to pick-up and drop-off customers.
- Adding transit bulbs at 16 intersections. Transit bulbs are sidewalk extensions alongside bus stops that allow buses to pick-up and drop-off customers and reduce delay by preventing the bus from having to pull out of the travel lane into a bus stop and then wait for a gap to merge back into traffic. Transit bulbs enhance the ability of buses to take advantage of all-door boarding and provide space for transit shelters and other customer amenities.
- Replacing all-way STOP-controlled intersections with traffic signals or traffic calming measures at nine intersections. Currently, the 5 Fulton is delayed by having to stop at multiple intersections with STOP signs. Some STOP signs could be replaced with traffic signals that could be programmed to hold green lights for approaching buses. At some intersections along McAllister Street, traffic calming measures could replace STOP signs and eliminate the need for buses to come to a complete stop while maintaining pedestrian safety. Potential traffic calming measures include traffic circles or sidewalk extensions.
- Adding right-turn pockets at 4 intersections. Right-turn pockets would reduce Muni delays associated with buses waiting behind right-turning motorists by providing a dedicated space for turning vehicles to queue.
- Implementing a road diet on Fulton Street between Stanyan Street and Central Avenue. Within this six block segment of Fulton Street, the travel lanes are too narrow to allow large vehicles such as buses to travel alongside other vehicles moving in the same direction. By removing one travel lane in each direction and widening the remaining travel lanes, delays would potentially be reduced.
- Adding peak-period parking restriction along east side of Central Avenue between Fulton and McAllister streets. Parking and loading along this block of Central Avenue delay Muni vehicles and make it difficult for buses traveling in opposite directions to pass each other. Restricting parking on the east side of Central Avenue during peak periods would provide more space for buses to maneuver and would reduce Muni delays.
- Adding pedestrian bulbs or islands at 3 intersections. Two treatments are being considered to shorten crossing distances and improve pedestrian safety. Pedestrian bulbs are sidewalk extensions at intersection corners that improve pedestrian safety by reducing the roadway crossing distance, making pedestrians waiting to cross the street more visible to approaching motorists, and reducing the speed of motorists turning from cross streets. Pedestrian islands provide a raised refuge area in the middle of the street for crossing pedestrians.
Together, the proposed changes are anticipated to reduce the travel time of the 5 Fulton by about six minutes in each direction (12 minutes total) within the study area (18 percent reduction), improving the average operating speed to 11.7 miles per hour and improving service reliability. Transit signal priority improvements are anticipated to save an additional 1.5 minutes in each direction. Other changes such as operational improvements and network enhancements would further improve travel times along the corridor and add valuable customer amenities such as NextBus displays. The travel time savings would also reduce operating costs on the line and allow for service to be cost effectively increased.