South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build Project
Through the SFMTA’s Vision Zero Quick-Build effort, the SFMTA plans to introduce additional safety improvements along South Van Ness Avenue in the Mission neighborhood. The South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build project proposes implementing a “road diet” (lane reduction) and signal timing changes on South Van Ness Avenue between 14th Street and Cesar Chavez (project limits subject to change based on planning & outreach process). The new roadway design proposal consists of two travel lanes (one in each direction) and a center two-way left turn lane with left turn lanes at each intersection. Curb management improvements to provide additional room along the curb and reduce double parking will also be implemented where needed.
South Van Ness Avenue is on San Francisco’s High Injury Network, the 13% of city streets that account for over 75% of serious injuries and fatalities.
- In the five years spanning 2015-2020, there were over 190 reported collisions along South Van Ness Avenue from 14th Street to Cesar Chavez.
- South Van Ness Avenue has one of the worst KSI (killed or seriously injured) rates of any street on the High Injury Network in San Francisco.
- The top three collision causes along South Van Ness Avenue are red light violations, speeding, and violation of left turn right-of-way.
- 17% of all collisions along South Van Ness Avenue in the years between 2015 and 2020 involved pedestrians. There was one pedestrian fatality in 2015 and one pedestrian fatality in 2019.
This project stems from the SFMTA’s Vision Zero Quick-Build Program, which was created as a result a mayoral directive to install faster and higher quality treatments to reduce collisions and improve traffic safety. The South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build project supports San Francisco's Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic-related deaths and severe injuries.
South Van Ness Avenue today is a four-lane undivided roadway from the US-101 freeway on-ramp south of 13th Street to its southernmost point at Cesar Chavez.
The South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build project proposes the following design elements to help reduce speeding and increase safety for drivers and pedestrians:
- Traffic Lane Reduction from four lanes (two in each direction) to three lanes (one lane in each direction with a center two-way left turn lane dividing the travel lanes). This lane reduction, commonly referred to as a "road diet", will still have enough capacity for today's traffic levels, as well as for some traffic growth.
- Center Two-Way Left Turn Lane to allow drivers to turn left at alleys or driveways without blocking a travel lane
- Left Turn Pockets at Intersections to provide left turning drivers with a separate turn lane without blocking thru traffic
- Traffic Signal Timing Changes that aim to promote safer, steadier traffic flow through the corridor and reduce speeding
- Improved Curb Management to allow businesses & community organizations to better utilize curb space for loading without blocking a vehicle lane
Typical plan view of a roadway before and after implementation of a lane reduction (road diet)
South Van Ness Avenue - Existing
South Van Ness Avenue - Proposed
These proposals will be discussed in more detail during the outreach period.
A number of safety measures have already been implemented along South Van Ness Avenue, including:
- Daylighting: In early 2020, red curbs were installed at the approach to all intersections along South Van Ness from 14th Street to Cesar Chavez to improve sightlines at crosswalks.
- Continental crosswalks have been installed at all intersections from 14th Street to Cesar Chavez, increasing crosswalk visibility.
- Advance Stop Lines were installed at all intersections in summer 2020, providing extra space between stopping vehicles and pedestrians in the crosswalk and increasing visibility at intersections.
- Leading Pedestrian Intervals were added crossing South Van Ness Avenue from 18th Street to 26th Street in 2017-2019, giving pedestrians a head start to cross the intersection before vehicles are given a green light.
- Higher Visibility Signals with larger lenses and mast arms over the roadway were installed throughout the corridor in 2017-2019.
- Painted Safety Zones were installed at various intersections along South Van Ness Avenue in 2015, encouraging drivers to slow down when making turns.
Check out SFMTA's Pedestrian Improvements Toolkit for more information about how these measures enhance pedestrian safety.