The Potrero Boosters have been collaborating with other neighborhood groups – including the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association (DNA), South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association, and Mission District merchants – to develop strategies to fill gaps in public transportation access in Southside neighborhoods.
“We’ve been able to work well with our neighbors facing the same challenges, with slightly different nuances,” said J.R. Eppler, Boosters president. “We’re able to get better outcomes when we work together,” According to Eppler, one of the biggest gaps for Potrero is the lack of adequate public transportation to and from the top of the Hill.
A 2014 shuttle transit feasibility study commissioned by the Boosters showed that, “There’s still an unmet demand for bus routes from Potrero Hill to the Transbay area,” Eppler said. The study found that 18 percent of Hill residents work Downtown; 25 percent work in areas surrounding Potrero. One-third of Hill commuters drive alone to their jobs, 25 percent use bus/light rail, and 16 percent walk. The Boosters have been unable to secure funding for a shuttle program.
Demand for improved public transportation infrastructure is being prompted by new developments, such as those planned or in progress at 1601 Mariposa, 100 Hooper, 1201 Tennessee, Pier 70, and Mission Rock. Approval of the Warriors arena in Mission Bay would further accentuate the need. “Someone who’s lived on the Hill for 30 years needs the bus just as much as someone who is going to move into these new buildings in the next three years,” Eppler explained. “[These developments] have by in large been very supportive of the neighborhood’s efforts to increase infrastructure.”
Bruce Agid, transportation representative and board member of the South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association, echoed many of Epplers’ sentiments. “Transit service cannot be looked at neighborhood by neighborhood, it needs to be looked at by transit corridors,” Agid said.
Those engaged in the effort hope to expand the 11 line to traverse Mission Bay, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill. The Boosters, along with DNA, want the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to consider moving the planned T-line loop that’s currently set to be constructed between 18th, Illinois, and 19th streets further south, to 25th Street.
“Construction [for the loop] is on hold pending a legal decision on the validity of the project’s environmental clearance,” said Robert Lyles, SFMTA spokesperson. “The SFMTA is actively working with the Potrero Hill Boosters to evaluate options for extending the proposed 11 route. The SFMTA is committed to devising transit options that are safe, efficient, and reliable. Specifically, 1000 16th Street will be on the planned transit busway for the 22 Fillmore. The 1601 Mariposa project is richly served by multiple transit options: it’s within two blocks of the 10 Townsend, 19 Polk, and 22. This development is also three blocks from the 55 on 16th Street. Our 10 Townsend route saw added frequency during our Muni Forward launch in spring. Since that time, the route has experienced a slight increase in ridership. Over the past six months, our data on the implemented changes demonstrate some fluctuations in ridership.”
Originally Published December 2015: The Potrero View