Transit-COVID Update, Fall 2020

After Spring 2020 service cuts, MUNI is once again starting to be a feasible option for making Crosstown Trail shuttle trips (with taxis and ride-sharing good alternatives).

At the start of the COVID-19 shutdown San Francisco cut MUNI service to about a dozen lines that mainly served hospitals and city offices. Ridership was restricted to essential workers and necessary trips. As the COVID situation stabilized and people began returning to work, MUNI resumed several downtown and crosstown routes in June and August 2020, and allowed shopping and recreational trips again.

Passengers must wear face masks on transit vehicles and at stops, and maintain 6 feet between you and your fellow passengers whenever possible. Drivers may skip stops if their bus is too crowded. (You may see a sign in the front window saying “drop-off only”). Even so, buses can still get more crowded than you may feel comfortable. But riding mid-day or reverse-commute, you and the driver may have the bus to yourselves. (It’s still too soon for groups to shuttle). Maintenance crews sanitize MUNI vehicles regularly, and there tend to be lots of windows open for ventilation.

The latest core service map PDF is on the SFMTA website. Laminated copies are also posted at each bus stop, whether or not the lines that stop there are running. (I saw several June maps in October, so be sure and check the date at bottom right).

Following are some of the changes since our Transit Access blogpost of 11/22/19.

In Section 1 of the Crosstown Trail, the T, 8, and 9 run frequently along the city’s east edge, and the 14 and 49 serve Mission Street. The 29, an epic crosstown route, gets you closest to Sunrise Point. (The 23 and 56 lines are NOT running).

In Sections 2 and 3, the 28, 29, 43 and 44 lines are good mid-town/cross-town routes. The K, L, and M run frequently past West Portal and Forest Hill Stations to/from downtown via Upper Market Street. (The 23, 36, 52, 6, and 66 lines are NOT running).

In sections 4 and 5, the N, 7, 5, 38, and 1 buses provide frequent east-west service. The 28 and 29 provide north-south service, crossing a number of east-west lines. (The 18 and 31 lines are NOT running).

For now, the 28 terminates at California Street, and the 43 line terminates at Geary and Masonic, so there is no service to the Golden Gate Bridge or Marina District from the western half of the City.

Something new: the 30 Stockton trolley bus now runs on battery power from the Marina along the north edge of the Presidio, terminating at Sports Basement. So coming from downtown, Chinatown, or North Beach you can start walking via Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge or up through the Main Post, and connect with the Crosstown Trail between Mountain Lake and Baker Beach.

Through 2020, the J, K, N, L, M, and T light rail lines are served by buses; trains will resume sometime in 2021. Buses mainly use the same island stops as the streetcars, but on the T there are separate curb stops.

MUNI’s 1 California turns at 32nd Ave. providing access to Lincoln Park/Lands End (a foggy day in 2011)

MUNI Roulette” in Section 5:

Living in the Richmond District, a block from Golden Gate Park, I can walk a lot of places right out my door; my partner and I also drive a short ways to walk around our favorite lakes. But it’s refreshing to explore further from home, staying car-free. In the last six months I’ve done two MUNI-assisted city hikes to Lands End. Both went well, and I hope to continue.

One August afternoon, instead of crossing Fulton to Golden Gate Park, I hopped a 5 Fulton bus west to 43rd Ave, then walked up Ocean Beach, past the Cliff House, then joined the Crosstown Trail’s Section 1 around Lands End. I returned home via Lake St. and 23rd Ave (both of which are “slow streets”). The 5 had about a dozen passengers (all in the back, which wasn’t totally ideal, but just a 10-minute ride). Normally I’ve gotten as far as Lands End walking from home, so it was nice to go beyond the beyond. The walk was 4.5 miles.

On Indigenous People’s Day, I walked my partner to Geary Blvd., then continued north 2 blocks to California St. and hopped a nearly-empty 1 California bus west to 30th Ave. I paused to enjoy the colorful 32nd Ave. and California St. tiled steps, then went north along the old Ferries and Cliff House railroad grade to El Camino Del Mar, then along SFCT’s Section 5 on the Coastal Trail around Lands End toward Point Lobos. Pausing for oncoming hikers, feet on Ohlone land, was a good chance to view Miwok land across the Golden Gate, and glance down through the cypress trees at the crashing surf. At the Mile Rock Beach junction I made an emergency detour up the SFCT bike route through Lincoln Park golf course, to use the restroom at the NW corner of the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Then I walked the GGNRA’s East Fort Miley loop trail to Clement St. and sauntered south down 42nd Ave seven blocks to Golden Gate Park’s Chain of Lakes entrance. The 5 Fulton bus had 10-12 passengers, just full enough. This was a 6-mile loop, with 3.5 miles of it on my own two feet.

Just off Section 5, hidden between the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the VA Hospital, the Veterans Trail loops around East Fort Miley through restored coastal scrub habitat and several old gun emplacements. Facilities include a restroom and picnic area. It’s a useful connection to/from the outer Richmond District.