WHAT IS BUS RAPID TRANSIT? | ABOUT BRT AND THE HISTORY OF TRANSPORTATION ON VAN NESS AVENUE
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Bus rapid transit (BRT) is an affordable approach to creating true rapid transit along San Francisco’s major North-South travel route. The Van Ness Avenue BRT Feasibility Study, called for in the 2004 Countywide Transportation Plan and adopted in 2006 by the Transportation Authority and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency boards, found that BRT on Van Ness Avenue would likely provide significant transit benefits with manageable impacts, and called for an environmental review of the project. (See the Environmental Review page.)
- Bus Rapid Transit on Wikipedia
- Other cities with Bus Rapid Transit
- The evolution of Van Ness Avenue into one of San Francisco's major Noth-South corridors
San Francisco Elected Officials, Stakeholders, and Staff Check out Mexico City BRT
In late May, 2013, Transportation Authority and SFMTA staff accompanied a delegation of San Francisco elected officials and stakeholders to Mexico City, where they got a chance to see a new BRT system firsthand. In addition to being impressed by the system’s ability to get high volumes of passengers where they need to go quickly and efficiently, the delegation was pleased to learn that Mexico City travelers often choose to ride the BRT versus the Metro (subway). The high-quality feel of the stations, BRT vehicles, fare prepayment, and dedicated lanes really do make it a mode of choice for all types of travelers. The trip was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and led by staff from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (www.itdp.org). See a presentation on the trip on the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) website.
WHICH ROUTES? Muni Routes 47 and 49. Golden Gate Transit Routes 10, 70, 80, 93, and 101.
WHERE? Dedicated BRT lanes would extend along Van Ness Avenue from Lombard St. to Mission St.
WHEN? Construction could begin in 2014 for start of service in 2016.
HOW MUCH? The LPA will cost approximately $126 million. More than $100M in funding for the project has already been identified from planned sources such as the FTA’s Small Starts program ($75M), the Prop K local sales tax measure for transportation ($20M), and additional millions from Caltrans roadway maintenance funds and a developer contribution from the California Pacific Medical Center redevelopment project. The project anticipates a full funding plan in the near future.
HIGHEST FEDERAL RATING. While undergoing planning and design, the project received the FTA’s highest rating for cost-effectiveness several years in a row (one of only two projects in the nations to receive this designation!), an indication of its high benefit-to-cost ratio.
The Van Ness BRT Feasibility Study, adopted by the Transportation Authority and MTA Boards in December 2006, found that BRT on Van Ness would have significant transit benefits and relatively little negative impact.
The Van Ness Avenue BRT is proposed on Van Ness Avenue (and one block of South Van Ness Avenue), and extends approximately 2 miles from Mission Street to Lombard Street. With implementation of the BRT, two mixed-flow traffic lanes (one southbound and one northbound) would be converted into two dedicated transit lanes. The Locally Preferred Alternative for Van Ness BRT, Center-Lane BRT with Right Side Boarding/Single Median and Limited Left Turns, represents a hybrid design that borrows from the most compelling features of the two center running alternatives analyzed in the Draft EIS/EIR. Key features include:
- Dedicated bus lane separated from regular traffic to improve transit performance.
- High quality stations and shelters with level or near level boarding to reduce loading and unloading
- Elimination of all left turns along Van Ness Avenue except Lombard (northbound) and Broadway (southbound) to enhance pedestrian safety and transit and traffic performance. [Download PDF diagram]
- Transit signal priority to reduce signal delays for transit vehicles
- New, low floor buses using standard right side doors
- Optimized stop spacing to reduce the amount of time buses are stopped.
BRT stations are shown as red dots. Muni bus routes 47 and 49 would continue north and south of the project study area.
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The Draft EIS/EIR, describing the project and potential environmental impacts, was available for public review and comment for 45 days, ending on December 23, 2011. It is still available for download (PDF) on our Environmental Review page. You can also download a PDF copy of the Executive Summary. The entire document may be viewed on CD or as hard-copy at the Transportation Authority's offices (see address below).
The Federal Transportation Agency will consider issuance of a Record of Decision, completing the federal environmental review process. Should the project obtain this final approval, construction would begin in late 2015 with the start of revenue anticipated in early 2018.
We encourage members of the public to contact us about the project via email or letter, addressed to Van Ness BRT EIS/EIR, Attn: Michael Schwartz, Senior Transportation Planner, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, 1455 Market St., 22nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.