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.

Transit Along the Crosstown Trail*

Map H, version 64, updated 12/5/19

*Note: MUNI sharply curtailed service in April 2020 to protect riders and operators during the COVID pandemic. Check our Fall 2020 Core Service update to learn what lines are back in service, and riding tips for the new normal. ( 10/16/20)

Section 1: Sunrise Point is the one Crosstown Trail start/end point that is not directly on a transit line. Learn how to get to Candlestick Point State Recreation Area from MUNI’s T, 56, and 29 and Caltrain.

Section 1: Bayshore Blvd and Arleta Station are served by MUNI T, 8, 9, and 56. Caltrain’s Bayshore Station is 2 blocks south of Blanken Ave. via Tunnel Ave.. SamTrans 292 and 397 also stop nearby on Bayshore Blvd.

Along Section 1: Near Visitation Valley Greenway the eastbound 56 runs on Leland and the wesbound 56 stops high up the hill at Wilde and Delta. The 29 runs along the top of McLaren Park on Mansell Dr., and the 44 runs along Silver St. As you cross Mission St. you can catch the 14 and 23.

Sections 1/2: Glen Park BART is served by MUNI 23, 35, 36, 44, and 52. The J stops one block south of the BART station (via an overpass and stairs off Diamond St.).

Along Section 2: MUNI 36, 44, 48, and 52 stop at Portola and Woodside Drives (near Tower Market and Ruth Asawa School of the Arts). The 36 also loops past Panorama and Cityview (1 block from the Troop 88 Trail).

Section 2/3: Forest Hill MUNI Station is served by the 36, 43, 44, and 52 buses, and K, L, and M Metro lines.

Along Section 3: MUNI 6 ends at 14th Ave. and Quinatara, which is roughly the midpoint of the trail. The 66 runs past the foot of the Moraga and 16th Ave. stairs.

Section 3/4: Judah St. and 16th Ave. is along the N Judah light rail line. The eastbound N stops right here; the westbound stop is 1 block east at 15th Ave..

Along Section 4 at the Lincoln Way/19th Ave. entrance of Golden Gate Park you can catch the 7, 28 and 29. Near the Rose Garden entrance at Fulton and Park-Presidio Blvd. you can catch the 5/5R and 28. The 44 stops inside the park in front of the DeYoung Museum and Academy of Sciences (a 12-minute walk east of Stow Lake)

Section 4/5: Geary Blvd. and Park Presidio Blvd. is where MUNI’s 38R and 28 lines cross.

Along Section 5: At California St. you can catch the 1 bus. (The 44 no longer stops here but you can catch it at 6th and Clement).

The hiking route next crosses the 29 at Lincoln Blvd. in the Presidio; the bike route on Lake St. crosses the 29 at 25th Ave..

At El Camino Del Mar and 32nd Ave. you are 2 blocks north of the 1 bus on California St.. The bike route goes past the 18 terminus opposite the Palace of the Legion of Honor.

Section 5: Lands End Lookout visitor center is 1 block from the 38R Point Lobos terminus. Go east up Point Lobos Ave. 1 block to 48th Ave.; go right at the signal and board the bus at the front of the line. (Coming west, some 38s end at the VA Hospital; check the destination sign).

If you go west past the Cliff House to the Great Highway, turn left 1 block on Balboa St. and right 1 block on La Playa to the Ocean Beach terminus where you can catch the 5/5R, 18, and 31.

Notes: Most MUNI transit shelters have a MUNI system map and frequency chart. You can get a PDF of the MUNI system map at SFMTA.com.

Public Transit Tips:
MUNI busses have wheelchair ramps and room for two wheelchairs; most buses also have front-mounted racks for 2 bikes. MUNI light rail lines (J, K/T, L, M, N) do not allow bicycles, and only certain “key stops” are wheelchair-accessible. Bikes are allowed on Caltrain and BART (check for restrictions). More information at sfmta.gov, BART.gov, and 511.org. Most MUNI bus shelters and stations have detailed route maps, which are also available online from SFMTA.

If you have a Clipper card, Fast Pass or Proof of Payment (POP, AKA a transfer), you can board any door; tap your card at the reader or keep your POP handy. For cash fares please board at the front (there is a small surcharge for cash fares). Transfers are good for 2 hours. See MUNI shelters or SFMTA.com for current fares, including senior and youth discounts. Drivers cannot make change.

Groups: If you are planning a group outing using public transit, having people arrive at one of the trail’s start points will give you a lot of options. Paying fares for a large group can be time-consuming and chaotic, so I like to plan my outings so our groups board lines that runs articulated busses (like the 5R, 7, 14, and 38R), light rail lines (J, K, L, M, N) and/or at a terminus. It doesn’t delay the bus as much (good for the driver and your fellow passengers).

Sometimes drivers ask one person to count noses, pay all the fares, and then distribute the proofs of payment to your group. At the start of the line sometimes there’s time for each person to pay their fare and collect their POP. If you transfer, your group can board the next vehicle at any door.

Boarding at the start, have your group take up a block of seats towards the middle or back; mid-route you may have to disperse into available spaces. (Of course folks should give seat priority to seniors, and people with disabilities). Keep backpacks by your feet so they take up less room.