On the agenda for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors tomorrow, a hearing to consider the two proposed options for restricting the operation of tour buses within San Francisco’s historic Alamo Square neighborhood which currently averages about a bus every 7.5 minutes during the day.

Option 1 would prohibit commercial vehicles with nine or more seats on all streets north of Fell Street, east of Divisadero Street, south of Golden Gate Avenue and west of Webster Street and move the existing tour bus loading zone on the north side of Fell Street just west of Divisadero to the north side of Fell Street just east of Pierce:


Option 2 is the same as Option 1 except it would allow enclosed tour buses to drive, but not stop or slow for pictures, on Hayes Street between Divisadero and Webster.

The Alamo Square Neighborhood Association plans to be out in force to ask for Option 1 to be adopted while also voicing their concern that tour buses will not pull all the way up to the curb at the relocated loading zone, effectively blocking a lane of traffic on Fell Street.

Fear not tech commuters, employer shuttle buses which currently make up about a third of the commercial bus traffic in the area above would be exempted from the proposed restrictions. That being said…

UPDATE: A plugged-in reader adds: “I sat in on this meeting, twice, with people who live in Alamo Square. I assure you that association doesn’t want the tech buses either, but as this is two separate issues, the tech bus problem will make it to the board eventually.”

17 thoughts on “Banning Tour Buses From Around Alamo Square While Allowing The Big Tech Shuttles To Roll. For Now.”
  1. How can the City prohibit equally large buses from Alamo Square streets based solely on whether their passengers are tourists or high-dollar tech employees?

  2. ^ It probably has to do with their operational frequency. The tech buses are rush hour only service whereas the tour buses run all day long and about 8 per hour.

  3. Heh, heh…apparently these NIMBY’s know which side their toast is buttered!

  4. The tech companies have better lobbyists/allies in city hall than the tourist bus companies. Unless they too start bankrolling Ed Lee’s campaign fund.
    Maybe it’s because they quietly pickup/drop and avoid using loud speaker PA systems.

  5. Keep in mind that many other picturesque areas of the city already prevent tour buses. That’s part of the reason they’re so pretty.

  6. I sat in on this meeting, twice, with people who live in Alamo Square. I assure you that association doesn’t want the tech buses either, but as this is two separate issues, the tech bus problem will make it to the board eventually.
    The frequency of buses is about every 5 minutes with the tech shuttles.

  7. If they’re going to put the bus drop-off point at the corner of Fell and Pierce, they should put ambulance parking at the corner of Hayes and Pierce.

  8. This would be like living on Marina Blvd and complaining about pedestrians, joggers, kite flyers and bike riders. Surely these people knew what they were getting into? With all the beautiful homes and attractive neighborhoods the city has to offer, I cannot believe anyone who moves to this spot should be surprised to find tourists and I would rather see bus traffic than rental cars. This is a “Transit First” city after all!

  9. Why are the tech busses a problem? Would the NIMBYs of the Alamo Square Association prefer 40-80 cars (that the busses remove from the streets) instead?

  10. The tech buses serve the residents of the neighborhood. Otherwise they obviously wouldn’t be there. Oh, I’m sure every neighborhood association has a lot of members who hate their “tech worker” neighbors because they make more money than them, but most are probably smart and neighborly enough to understand that without tech buses you’d just have more cars on the street. Tour buses don’t serve the residents. If the tourists were dropping cash at local businesses they’d probably be welcome but that’s not the case.

  11. @RonMonster If by lobbyists you mean residents who live in Alamo Square. Why do you think the tech buses are stopping in Alamo square anyway, if there weren’t employees there then they wouldn’t wan to stop there.

  12. Some of these buses are horribly maintained and spew nasty fumes and exhaust well beyond anything normal. They should exempt / encourage zero emission buses and prohibit all others.

  13. In reply to WC1, the SFMTA proposed taking all the parking spots on the south side of Fulton Street, next to Alamo Square, between Scott and Steiner streets and this was quickly shot down by the neighborhood.
    Currently, the hop-on, hop-off tourist bus stop is located on the NW corner of Fell and Divisadero street which is a four block walk from Hayes and Steiner streets. The latest proposal (Option 1) is make the stops closer to the square by moving to the NE corner of Fell at Pierce Street.

  14. I live near Alamo Square and always wondered why, apart from probably being expensive AND detrimental to the trees, they don’t put in underground parking garage under the square to alleviate parking problems?
    Granted, there wouldn’t be that many parking and congestion issues if we didn’t have busses (Google/tour) in the first place, but cars aren’t exactly going away, and SF sure could do with one or two additional parking spaces, no?

  15. MS, I think you answered your own question as to constructing a parking garage in Alamo Square.
    During the day there currently seems to be adequate parking for tourist’s cars while residents are away at work. I also have noticed an increase in tourists talking the 5-Fulton bus and getting off at Pierce Street and walking into Alamo Square.

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