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As It Turns 100, MUNI Showing Its Age

On the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency's (MUNI) centennial birthday, Zusha Elinson reports on the sad fact that service is slower than it was when it began 100 years ago.
April 3, 2012, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Elinson traces the history of MUNI, which began in 1912 as a streetcar line, the A and B, which eventually ran from the ferries to the beach, and compares historic travel times for several routes compared to today and finds that, almost uniformly, they all have slowed.

Elinson turns to Peter Straus, a retired Muni service planner, to provide the reason for the somewhat depressing state of affairs, "Streetcars ruled the road, and there wasn't much getting in the way - no car traffic - and we didn't have all the traffic lights and stop signs," said Straus. "Back then it was basically ‘load and go,' " he added, "and there was nothing to slow them down."

Fret not, however, MUNI has plans to upend a century of slowing service on several lines. According to Elinson, "Officials at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are preparing a plan to speed several routes, including the 30, the J and the N. This is scheduled to be done by removing stop signs, programming traffic signals so they stay green for buses, creating additional bus-only traffic lanes and removing some bus stops."

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Published on Saturday, March 31, 2012 in The New York Times
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