A Suggestion for N Judah Riders Returning From Downtown Today

It’s a warm sunny day! It’s going to be great weather this weekend! Annnnnnd…..it’s also Critical Mass Day today. Um….whaa?
We all knew this was coming. There’s no need to re-hash the monthly “Critical Mass: Evil or Not?” diatribes. Putting aside that, there’s a real logistical problem for anyone who’s downtown (or transferring from BART downtown to Muni) – the surface routes are more or less screwed, thus sending more people underground. It’s also not a state secret that despite the demand for N-Judah service, Muni insists on running many empty J Church trains, and half-empty KLMs while N Judah riders are stuck waiting forever for super-crowded trains. (And, for fun, Muni loves to kick everyone out at 19th. ARGH!)
So, what to do if you’re a westside person who tries to rely on the N to go home, and woudl especially like to not spend hours in the station waiting for Ns that will never show up?
There are a few options, but it depends on where you live. If you live in the Inner Sunset or thereabouts, you can always take one of the many KLM trains to Forest Hill, then get out and transfer to a 44, a 43, etc. If you live in the Outer Sunset, however, this isn’t as much of an option. Likewise if you’re going to the Inner or Outer Richmond, it too gets to be a bit much.
I’d be curious to hear what folks out there might suggest. Of course, if your time permits, you could stick around downtown, find a place to enjoy a (beer/coffee/tea/lemonade/water/whatever) and just let the madness pass by until your favorite street-based Muni line is free, but not everyone has that option.
As for me, this is one of the very few times I’m glad I work at home on Fridays. There are few upsides to working at home these days, but I take the few I can get!

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13 Responses to A Suggestion for N Judah Riders Returning From Downtown Today

  1. Al says:

    Wouldn’t Richmonders take the 38, 1 or similar?

  2. Jay P. says:

    I’m live in Outer Sunset, right near Lincoln and Sunset. I’m considering taking the L-Taraval out to Sunset Avenue, then jumping on the 29 and heading north until I get to my stop.
    Another route I’ve taken, but since we’re looking for non-surface downtown alternatives this may be moot, but is to take the 38 out West, then jump on the 29, which goes through the park and then down Lincoln.
    BTW, thanks for this article and the reminder about Critical Mass.

  3. Greg Dewar says:

    Those surface routes start downtown on streets that will be blocked by CM, hence the delays, etc.
    If only we’d built BART to the Richmond….

  4. Dennis says:

    Jay, from what I have heard, the 29(and some who may consider the 28) – the line is Atrocious – especially Fridays. Tends to get held up during commute times due to traffic on Doyle Drive, Park Presidio ( some detour to 25th Ave. which causes problems)and Golden Gate Park.
    Maybe 71 Limited? N Judah has improved last 2 days in p.m. but running 2 or 3 in a row after waiting 15 minutes makes no sense.

  5. Erik says:

    The weather is nice; you can always take a non-screwed-up line as far as you like and then walk.

  6. Michael Wise says:

    I know this is an N Judah blog, but some disinformation needs to be cleared up.
    Living in the Outer Sunset, I ride both. I live closer to the N now, but used to live closer to the L.
    The assertion that L’s run half empty is ludicrous. They are nearly always jam packed during commute hours. Furthermore, they stay packed for longer than N’s do.
    A great bulk of N riders outbound get off at stops between Cole and 9th Ave. leaving plenty of seating by the time the N reach 19th Ave. The L is almost always standing room only to 25th Ave. and beyond (even to Sunset Ave.)
    Both lines periodically turn around w/o telling riders they will be doing so till they are near the turnaround point (N at 19th; L at 25th Ave), but I haven’t had that happen on the N in awhile.

  7. Jay P. says:

    Actually, now that you mention it, Dennis, my one instance of jumping onto the L to bypass the N mess was a disaster. I got off the L to shop Safeway, since I was in the area, which turned out to be a huge mistake. No L ever showed up the 45 minutes I was waiting. At the same time, I was also hedging my bet that maybe the 28 would be showing up, as an alternate. 28’s Nextmuni stayed on 45 minutes for the 45 minutes I was there. I ended up walking home, with my groceries, from 19th & Taraval to Sunset and Lincoln. You mentioned the issues with 29 and/or the 28 means I will probably end up on the N.

  8. Greg Dewar says:

    @Mike: I hear ya and perhaps my wording didn’t quite accurately convey a problem I’ve noticed more and more at rush hour. That is, as the number of N passengers goes up and up, waiting for an N anytime between 430-7pm, many fresh KLMs and Js go by, without as many passengers around Embarcadero-Powell. That’s in part because the N goes to Caltrain on weekdays, but there also gets to be a level of frustration on the platforms of N riders.
    Of COURSE as lines go further and further out, they do in fact de-populate as you say, but the N turnaround at 19th sans notice is still a problem, one that pops up on my Twitter feed at least a few times a week.
    So I take your point and in the future will be a bit more clear about what it is I’m saying. I appreciate the feedback!

  9. Jay P. says:

    Since the Critical Mass deadline is coming up very soon and there doesn’t seem to be any attractive alternative, can we keep this discussion alive for the upcoming Masses? Hopefully there is a viable solution for us, (aside from ones like me leaving work really early today) since this will be an ongoing issue.

  10. Greg Dewar says:

    @JP: absolutely. It’s pointless to complain about CM anymore, since they’ll always get special treatment no matter what or who is mayor, and people seem to accept it, BS and all.

  11. Michael Wise says:

    “…as the number of N passengers goes up and up, waiting for an N anytime between 430-7pm, many fresh KLMs and Js go by, without as many passengers around Embarcadero-Powell.”
    That may true at Embarcadero (because the N has stops before the Embarcadero), but I think its a matter of perception starting at Montgomery. When I rode the L almost exclusively, I frequently saw a lot of instances of 2-3 double N cars coming by (some half empty) before the first L came. Now that I ride the N more than the L, I notice this happening on both lines.

  12. david vartanoff says:

    One can only hope post NewsomFord that the next Mayor might INSTRUCT the Muni boss to pay attention to the Metro.
    What riders should do when the driver announces a turnback is to block the cab door and INSTRUCT him to continue in service to the terminal or radio for rescue.

  13. Anon says:

    The 16 Express used to run down Turk (and Van Ness)… but I haven’t taken that route in 15 years. Otherwise, the 71 can be a nice ride if you can get near a window. Once you get past the Haight gauntlet, it’s smooth sailing.

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