Van Ness Improvement Project
Welcome to the New Van Ness Avenue!
The new Van Ness Avenue is here! Major upgrades have been made on Van Ness Avenue and we’re excited to introduce you to our eye-catching red lanes, new landscaping and other improvements that make Van Ness Avenue the place to live, visit and work.
This massive civic improvement project has not only brought San Francisco its first Bus Rapid Transit system, a much-needed and globally-proven solution to improve transit service and address traffic congestion on Van Ness Avenue, but also some much-needed work underground. To maximize the benefits during construction, the project also included extensive utility maintenance, civic improvements and safety enhancements that have revitalized this historic corridor.
With an eye toward safety for pedestrians, some of the new features of the improved Van Ness Avenue include bulb-outs and median refuge spaces to shorten crossing distances and extended countdown signals so that those crossing can see how much time they have before the traffic signal changes.
Van Ness was redesigned with inclusivity and accessibility in mind. Accessible Pedestrian Signals are now located at every crosswalk, and at the locations for boarding platforms, there are additional directions provided for people who are low-vision and blind. Buses pull up directly to the curb at boarding islands to allow a smoother boarding experience for all passengers and their mobility needs as the slope of the ramp is lower. Newly paved sidewalks and bright lighting allow for safer walking or rolling on the corridor.
The new Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit corridor features nine northbound and nine southbound boarding islands along the red, center-running transit lanes served by Muni's 49 Van Ness/Mission, 90 San Bruno Owl, and Golden Gate Transit buses.
- Union Street (Connect to the 45 Union/Stockton)
- Jackson (Connect to the 12 Folsom, 27 Bryant)
- Sacramento (Connect to the 1 California, California Cable Car)
- Geary-O'Farrell (Connect to 38 Geary, 38R Geary Rapid)
- Eddy (Connect to the 31 Balboa)
- McAllister (Connect to the 5 Fulton, 5R Fulton Rapid)
- Market (Connect to the J Church, KT Ingleside Third, L Taraval Bus, M Ocean View, N Judah, 9 San Bruno, 9R San Bruno Rapid, 14 Mission, 14R Mission Rapid)
VAN NESS BUS RAPID TRANSIT FEATURES
Bus Rapid Transit on Van Ness is a part of Muni's Rapid Network, prioritizing frequency and reliability for customers. The planned improvements are expected to cut travel times for Golden Gate Transit and Muni's 49 Van Ness/Mission and 90 San Bruno Owl buses by 32%.
Some features of Bus Rapid Transit on Van Ness include:
- Dedicated transit lanes that are physically separated from the other traffic lanes, for use by Muni and Golden Gate Transit buses only.
- Enhanced traffic signals optimized for north-south travel with Transit Signal Priority, which gives buses the green light as they approach an intersection.
- Low-floor vehicles and all-door boarding, that make it quicker and easier for passengers to load and unload at each stop.
- Safety enhancements for people walking like sidewalk extensions, median refuges, high visibility crosswalks and audible countdown signals.
- Fully furnished boarding platforms that include shelters, seating and NextMuni prediction displays located at key transfer points.
Funding for the core Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project comes from a variety of sources including FTA Small Starts, San Francisco Prop K funds and developer contributions.
Projects associated with the Van Ness Improvement Project, including repaving Van Ness Avenue, new traffic signals, hardware and software, new transit vehicles and streetlight/pole replacement are funded by FTA Formula Funds, San Francisco Prop K funds and regional and statewide sources.
VAN NESS AVENUE HISTORY
When it was first surveyed in 1856, Van Ness was intended to be the City’s spine. Mansions of prominent families populated the northern end while the southern had dense working-class housing. Serving as a firebreak after the 1906 earthquake, Van Ness saved the western part of the city. By the 1920s, grand auto showrooms peppering the corridor made Van Ness the west coast’s largest Auto Row. Once the Golden Gate Bridge was built, it shifted toward regional auto travel. Since the '90s, transportation plans prepared by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and Muni recognized the need to establish rapid transit service on Van Ness Avenue. In 2003, 75 percent of voters approved the sales tax to plan rapid transit service on Van Ness Avenue. In September 2013, the Board of Supervisors, acting as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority Commission, unanimously approved the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Project, the core of the Van Ness Improvement Project. Construction of the project began in October 2016.
Today, the Van Ness Avenue corridor serves as a vital connector of neighborhoods and a regional link for travel between Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. Van Ness Avenue is one of the busiest north-south corridors in the city, serving over 16,000 Muni customers daily on the 49 Mission/Van Ness and 90 San Bruno Owl bus routes as well as Golden Gate Transit customers. It is part of the California State Highway System and of US Route 101, a primary artery that connects Interstate Highways 280 and 80 with the Golden Gate Bridge.