Denizens of Cow Hollow are just like you and me, oh less-privileged, poorer-dressed city dwellers. Union Streeters breathe the same air and bathe in the same Hetch-Hetchy as we, and bravely face down the same perils of urban living — that is, if longer-than-normal Muni buses are your chief beef rather than, say, crime, unemployment, single-speed bicycles or home foreclosures.

There’s been much ink spilled over the past year over bus route changes proposed by the Municipal Transit Agency (the beloved Transit Effectiveness Project), likewise there has been reports of organized opposition against proposed changes to the 41-Union.

SF MTA staff wanted to halt the line at Fillmore Street rather than Lyon Street, where a new bus turn-around would be installed. After intervention from Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier’s office, that plan was altered — buses will go all the way to Lyon at an existing turn-around. Good enough for Alioto-Pier, but not good enough for the dozen merchants and residents who came out to the MTA Board meeting Tuesday to vehemently denounce the MTA’s plan to run articulated buses — that is, the longer, 60-foot version of Muni buses, with the accordion-like middle-bit-thingie — on the 41 route during morning hours.

Folks cited the bus’s larger-than-life size, ugly interior and lack of ridership as reasons not to scrap the 41-Union line altogether, but merely run small buses during their portion of the route.

“We have to not let those articulates go up Union Street,” said David Coyle, innkeeper at the “elegant” Union Street Inn, who cited “low ridership” on Union Street as his reason (though Union Street is on either the beginning or the end, respectively, of the bus’s route).

They’re ugly. They’re graffiti’d. Clean them up before you bring them into our neighborhood.“We don’t need them on Union Street,” said Jeff Wood of the Cow Hollow Association, who also cited low ridership but also the “narrowness” of Union Street. “It’s just not wide enough for an articulated bus.”

Other reasons we enjoyed: “They’re ugly. They’re graffiti’d. Clean them up before you bring them into our neighborhood.” And: “You need an EIR. Do an EIR otherwise we’ll see you in court.”

Though there is a serious safety concern posed by running a bigger bus on Union, but it has nothing to do with those fortunate flatlanders in Cow Hollow: running a 60-footer up the Union Street incline on Russian Hill could cause the coaches to bottom out, according to the MTA’s Julie Kirschbaum, but the MTA has run test buses loaded with 14,000 pounds of water without incident and will review the route’s safety record after six months of operation.

Union Streeters’ concerns fell on deaf ears, as the SFMTA board approved the changes. The route changes will happen in November. (The Appeal’s requested a complete list of the changes from Muni spokesperson Judson True, but has yet to receive it.)

Hand-wringing over the future carnage on Union Street was hardly the only drama Tuesday — the prospect of a bus stop on the 300 block of Funston Street brought one woman to tears. But there wasn’t all bad news on Tuesday!

The 14L will now run all day!

The 39-Coit will now extend to Pier 39! Achtung, tourists – get your dollar bills ready!
There’s a new version of the 9-San Bruno called the 9-L! The 9-Bayshore Express will no longer be called a 9.

There was a proposal to rename the 9x-Bayshore Express the 8 – because 8 is lucky for Chinese people, who ride that bus often, according to SF MTA staff. That idea was shot down by the SF MTA board for being “too confusing.” It will be called the 11 and the 11x in the future.

And in case you didn’t get the memo, when your FastPass price goes up to $60 on January 1, you lose your BART privileges as well – unless you are willing to fork over $70 for a Muni/BART combo pass.

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