FINAL UPDATE: #FMarket cleared at Don Chee. Regular service resuming. Expect residual delays. (More: 12 in last 48 hours)

Van Ness Traffic Lanes Shifting for Utility Work

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Rendering of Van Ness with yellow arrows showing traffic plan.
The yellow arrows in this rendering illustrate how traffic will be configured around the median trees to preserve them through construction.

Starting Thursday morning, traffic will shift on Van Ness Avenue to make room for the upgrade of this portion of San Francisco’s aging sewer and water systems.

This is part of a larger project to overhaul Van Ness between Lombard and Mission streets and bring much needed safety enhancements, utility replacements and transportation upgrades to one of the city’s most iconic corridors. Once the project is completed, Van Ness will also boast San Francisco’s first Bus Rapid Transit system. 

By the end of construction, currently projected for 2020, Van Ness Avenue will be a greener, safer, and more efficient street everyone can enjoy for years to come.

What lanes are shifting?

The main goal of the traffic shift is to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction during construction while also providing a safe working zone for construction. Those driving on Van Ness will notice that the lanes shift to the center of the roadway and traffic patterns will go around existing median trees in order to preserve them through construction.

Diagram of lane shifts on Van Ness Avenue

Lane Shift Schedule:

Thursday, Nov. 2: Southbound lanes of Van Ness between Sutter and McAllister will shift to the center of the roadway.

Wednesday, Nov. 15: Northbound traffic will shift to the center of the roadway between Jackson and Lombard.

Along with the traffic lane shifts, parking will be temporarily eliminated in the two utility construction zones — between Sutter and McAllister on the west side and between Jackson and Lombard on the east side — preserving parking opposite the construction zone when possible. Southbound bus stops at McAllister, Sutter, O’Farrell and Eddy will be temporarily relocated. Sidewalks adjacent to the construction zone will be reduced to no less than five feet in width.

Why shift traffic?

Crews need to replace the 1800s-era water and sewer systems beneath Van Ness Avenue. This will reduce their vulnerability to damage from earthquakes and minimize potential service outages. Portions of the emergency firefighting water system that supplies more than 1,200 fire hydrants through San Francisco will also be overhauled and new street and sidewalk lighting will also be installed.

Currently, these aging water systems are located in the center of Van Ness, but will be moved to the outer edges of the street to ease maintenance and safety in the decades to come.

The video below provides a brief overview of the entire project. The utility relocation and upgrade work, shown starting at the :33 mark, is the second portion of phase one.

Stay Connected

For more project details and to sign up for construction updates, please visit