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Construction on Van Ness at a glance

Construction on the Van Ness Improvement Project began October 24, 2016, and a strategic construction schedule is bringing many changes to the two-mile stretch of Van Ness Avenue between Lombard and Mission streets through 2019.

When the project first broke ground, a few things happened right away:

  • Travel lanes were reduced to two lanes in each direction
  • Most left turns from Van Ness were removed (except southbound at Broadway and northbound at Lombard—and for a short time northbound at Hayes)
  • Most of the median, the raised center island on Van Ness, was temporarily removed and paved

These immediate changes were necessary to provide room for construction and to preserve as much on-street parking as possible. They also closely reflect the final conditions of the project, meaning people may adjust their routes of travel early and know that minimal change will take place going forward.

Next, traffic will be moved to the median so the first, two-year phase of construction can begin. This phase comprises the much-needed curbside utility work on the corridor like replacing the 100-year-old water and sewer systems.

A three-dimensional rendering of Van Ness during construction.

During this phase of work, Van Ness will be divided into two segments—north and south—at Sutter Street. One crew will start work on the eastern side of Van Ness at Lombard, while another will work on the western side of Van Ness at Sutter. Both crews will work their ways south until they reach the end of each segment (Sutter and Mission streets). At that point, crews will repeat the sequence on the opposite side of Van Ness.

By working in this pattern, neighbors will be less impacted and on-street parking can be preserved as much as possible on one side of Van Ness.

When the utility work is completed, traffic will be moved to the outside lanes while construction crews begin phase two of construction: building San Francisco’s first Bus Rapid Transit system—also called BRT. This work includes building new boarding platforms and paving physically-separated, center-running transit-only lanes.

During construction of this phase, parking will be lost where boarding platforms are built in order to maintain two lanes of travel in each direction.

The final six months of the project will focus on safety improvements, beautification, testing and Operator training. This will include building sidewalk extensions at intersections (also known as bulb-outs) to increase visibility and decrease crossing distances for people walking, as well as planting 210 new trees in the median.

Head over to YouTube for a visual overview of the construction plan outlined above.

At the end of the 36-month construction schedule, Van Ness Avenue will be transformed into a safer, greener, more efficient street for everyone.