“The court finds that substantial evidence supports the (environmental impact report for) Geary BRT (bus rapid transit system) and its analysis of the project,” Lee wrote in an order that dismissed every claim made by the merchant advocacy group San Franciscans for Sensible Transit, whose members filed the lawsuit last year. They claimed the city had inappropriately rushed the environmental review without sufficiently examining the “biological, historical, safety and noise impacts” of major infrastructure work in the Richmond District.
In its suit, the group argued that work to add the new bus lanes — which intend to cut travel time for riders — would burden Richmond residents by reducing parking, requiring trees to be uprooted from sidewalks and eliminating the street’s concrete median. Skeptics also feared that businesses would wilt during construction, the way they have on Van Ness Avenue, where a similar street and bus lane overhaul is under way.
Construction began earlier this month on the eastern segment of the route, along Geary between Market and Stanyan streets. Crews are painting red bus lanes along that 2-mile stretch and widening curbs near stops, and the SFMTA is installing new software to sync traffic lights with bus arrivals. The next phase, scheduled to start in 2021, will extend the red lanes westward from Stanyan Street to 34th Avenue, widen sidewalks and add medians for people who can’t cross Geary in one traffic signal.