A J Church pilot project is under consideration.
J Church (Church Street and Duboce Avenue to Balboa Park Station)
Muni’s J Church line carries more than 14,000 daily customers on an average weekday. The project study area is the four mile stretch between Church and Duboce and the J Line’s terminal at Balboa Park Station. Within the study area, the J Church operates at an average speed of eight miles per hour during peak periods. There are 19 transit stops in the inbound direction and 18 transit stops in the outbound direction. The average transit stop spacing between Duboce Avenue and Randall Street is 975 feet, with stops located about every two to four blocks. In the southern part of the line between Santa Rosa Avenue, and Balboa Park Station, the average stop spacing is 1,380 feet, or about every two to three blocks.
The main causes of delay to the J Church include long passenger loading and unloading times, traffic signal delay, traffic congestion, a high number of STOP signs along the route and areas of closely spaced transit stops.
Travel Time Reduction Proposal Overview
In order to reduce transit travel times and improve reliability, the SFMTA proposes a toolkit of measures within the study area. The proposals include:
- Replacing all-way STOP-controlled intersections with traffic signals or traffic calming measures at four intersections. Traffic calming measures such as corner bulbs, speed humps, and sidewalk extensions provide improved 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.
- Adding a transit-only lane on three blocks. In areas of high traffic congestion, transit-only lanes can save significant travel time for the J Church by giving the train its own exclusive lane.
- Turn Restrictions at two intersections. Left-turn restrictions can reduce transit delay by ensuring that auto traffic does not block intersections while waiting to turn left.
- Adding pedestrian bulbs at one intersection. 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.
- Optimizing transit stop locations at three intersections. Relocating transit stops from the near-side to the far-side of intersections at existing and proposed traffic signals would allow streetcars to take advantage of planned transit signal priority improvements. At all-way STOP-controlled intersections, transit stops would be relocated from the far-side of the intersection to the near-side, eliminating the need for streetcars to stop once for the STOP sign and again for customers to board the train.
- Create more consistent stop spacing. The J Church stops an average of once every two blocks for a majority of its route. However, at two locations, this distance is shortened to as little as once every block. This proposal moves towards at least a two-block spacing throughout the route. By stopping fewer times, the train would take less time to move through the corridor.
- Adding transit bulbs at seven intersections. Transit bulbs are sidewalk extensions alongside transit stops that allow passengers to get on and off without having to walk between parked cars and cross a lane of traffic. They enhance the ability of streetcars to take advantage of all-door boarding and provide extra space for transit shelters and other customer amenities. Transit bulbs also 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.
- Extending boarding islands at two intersections. Boarding islands are dedicated waiting spaces for customers located between travel lanes. Extending existing boarding islands would cover the full length of the train and allow for passengers to be picked up and dropped off without having to walk between parked cars or cross a lane of traffic when the train arrives.
Together, the proposed changes are anticipated to reduce the travel time of the J Church within the study area by about 6.5 minutes total in both directions (12% reduction), resulting in an average operating speed of nine miles per hour and improving service reliability. Other changes such as transit signal priority improvements, 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.