A year ago, SFMTA painted multiple bus lanes in San Francisco’s Mission District red and that’s what a lot of locals have been seeing ever since. While the intention was to make it easier for traffic to flow through the crowded neighborhood and cut down on confusion, the brash color scheme turned off many merchants and neighbors. 

Just some of the phrases that have been used by locals include, “rage-provoking project,” “gentrification on steroids," and "ethnic cleansing of the Mission.” All that for some traffic lanes!

Well, love them or hate them, it’s starting to become clear that the red lanes are probably accomplishing exactly what they intended. 

San Francisco startup Zendrive, which studies traffic by analyzing driver behavior via smartphones, compiled data from drivers along Mission Street in January and October of 2016. What they found was that speeding decreased by 36 percent, “aggressive acceleration” dropped 30 percent, hard braking was down 21 percent, and cell phone usage while driving was down eight percent. 

Now, no one can say for sure that the red lanes are the reason for all of that change, but there clearly does seem to be some correlation given the timing and the types of categories tracked. While some still argue that the amount of traffic on Mission Street doesn’t warrant extreme measures, it’s safe to say the red lanes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.