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Tour buses to be banned from SF's Alamo Square

November 20, 2013 2:57:43 PM PST
Tour buses will soon be banned from the area around San Francisco's Alamo Square following a vote Tuesday by the Municipal Transportation Agency's board of directors.

The Alamo Square Neighborhood Association had sought restrictions on buses in the area since 2011, arguing that the tours create traffic and safety hazards as well as unnecessary noise for residents who live in or near the popular "Painted Ladies," a row of colorful Victorian houses along Steiner Street.

The SFMTA board agreed, unanimously voting to exclude commercial buses with 10 or more seats from an area north of Fell Street, east of Divisadero Street, south of Golden Gate Avenue and west of Webster Street.

Buses contracted by employers and Municipal Railway vehicles are exempt from the ban.

Lisa Zahner, president of the neighborhood association, said there has been an "incredible explosion in the number of buses circling our homes and park."

She noted that there are multiple Muni stops near Alamo Square, making the destination still accessible to visitors.

However, a tourism industry advocate told the board on Tuesday that the restrictions will prevent many people from seeing the popular site.

"We believe there can be some operation," said Francis Gorman with the San Francisco Tour Guide Guild, who asked the board to consider allowing the buses to "at least drive by and show our people without stopping."

MTA Director Malcolm Heinicke did say that the board could revisit the topic at a later date if there was a strong backlash from the tourism industry or an unsustainable traffic impact on nearby roads.

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the restrictions will take effect in January after roads are re-striped and new signage is posted in the neighborhood.


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