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South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build Project

SFMTA.com/SVanNessQuickBuild

The South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build Project was approved by the City Traffic Engineer following the Virtual Open House and Engineering Public Hearing, held October 13-27, 2021. Construction began in late December and concluded in mid-January 2022 for the roadway. Curb management changes are still under consideration to improve businesses' access to curb space.

Project Introduction

Through the SFMTA’s Vision Zero Quick-Build effort, the SFMTA has introduced additional safety improvements along South Van Ness Avenue in the Mission neighborhood. The South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build project includes a “road diet” (lane reduction) and signal timing changes on South Van Ness Avenue between 14th Street and Cesar Chavez. The new roadway design 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.

Project Timeline 
Spring - Summer 2021
Outreach and Design
Pending
Fall 2021
Environmental Review and Project Approvals
Pending
December 2021-January 2022
Project Implementation
Pending
2022-2024
Project Evaluation
Pending
Project Status
Implementation / Construction
Project Evaluation
Improvements
walking
Pedestrian safety improvements
SFMTA Drive and Parking icon
Improved curb management
Neighborhoods
Streets
South Van Ness Avenue

The South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build Project Virtual Engineering Public Hearing was held from October 13-27, 2021. The public comment period closed on October 27, 2021 at 11:30 p.m. Following the conclusion of the public hearing, the project was approved by the City Traffic Engineer for implementation. Results of the public hearing can be viewed at the following link: 

South Van Ness Avenue Quick-Build Project Public Hearing Results

Safety Needs

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.

Implemented Changes

South Van Ness Avenue before January 2022 was 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 included 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

South Van Ness Avenue - Pre-Implementation Striping (Typical Block)

Striping Plan View of a typical block of South Van Ness Avenue, before project implementation in January 2022.

South Van Ness Avenue - Post-Implementation Striping (Typical Block) 

Striping Plan View of a typical block of South Van Ness Avenue, after project implementation in January 2022.

Recent Efforts

A number of safety measures were implemented along South Van Ness Avenue between 2015-2020, including:

  • DaylightingIn 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.

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