- PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES
The core BRT project will be built in conjunction with several separately-funded utility replacement projects as a unified Van Ness Improvement Project. Sewer, water, and emergency firefighting mains will be installed, replacing pipes that are over 100 years old in some places. The combined project will also upgrade street lighting, traffic signals, and the power supply for trolley buses. “Green Infrastructure”—special rain gardens to allow stormwater to seep into the ground rather than the sewer system—will be installed in key spots, complementing the 210 new median trees and other landscaping included in the BRT project.
The SFMTA is using a delivery method called “Construction Manager-General Contractor,” or CMGC. The CMGC method allows selection of a contractor based on a combination of experience and price. Walsh Construction was selected and brought into the project during the design phase to provide their expertise in planning the construction sequencing and management of traffic. Major construction of the unified Van Ness Improvement Project is expected to take 30 months; a significant savings over the time it would take to build the utility projects one at a time. CMGC method will also limit cost growth and change orders during construction through a negotiated guaranteed maximum price that will allow shifting of some risks to the contractor. Construction began in October 2016.
For construction updates and other information, see the SFMTA project page.
San Francisco’s first full‐featured BRT project will anchor the Muni Rapid Network
The Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project will create dedicated bus lanes along two miles of Van Ness and South Van Ness Avenues, from Lombard to Mission streets. The lanes will be used by Muni’s 49 and 47 routes and Golden Gate Transit. The transit-only lanes will flank center landscaped medians along Van Ness Avenue, physically separated from the two lanes of mixed flow traffic in each direction. All-door boarding, elimination of most left turns, transit signal priority, and traffic signal optimization will help reduce transit travel time on the corridor by up to a third. In addition, pedestrian improvements, signal upgrades, new streetlights, new landscaping, and roadway resurfacing will be implemented to improve safety and aesthetics.
Van Ness BRT is a signature project of the SFCTA’s Prop K transportation sales tax program, and is the culmination of years of multi-agency collaboration at the local, state, and federal level to improve transit along this part of U.S. Highway 101. The project received environmental approvals in 2013 from the Transportation Authority Board, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board, and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and project traffic approval in 2014 from Caltrans. Since that time, the SFMTA has managed project implementation and construction. Construction began in October 2016. With over $36 million of Prop K helping to fund the project, and the Transportation Authority continues to provide project support and oversight to ensure environmental compliance and efficient implementation.
The Van Ness Avenue BRT on Van Ness Avenue (and one block of South Van Ness Avenue) 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) will converted into two dedicated transit lanes. The design 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.
- All-door, low-floor boarding, and proof of payment to allow buses to pick up and drop off passengers more quickly.
- High-quality shelters including protection from the elements and comfortable seating.
- Pedestrian safety enhancements including reduced crossing distances on streets where BRT stations exist and large platforms for waiting passengers.
- 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 with traffic signals recognizing an approaching BRT vehicle and extending the green light when it is safe to do so.
- Traffic signal optimization, a data-driven approach to timing all traffic lights in the corridor.
Muni bus routes 47 and 49 continue north and south of the dedicated BRT lanes.
Project Record of Decision has been issued by Federal Transportation Agency as of December, 2013. The Conceptual Engineering phase has been completed; project is proceeding with Detailed Design, construction is anticipated to start in late 2015 and begin revenue service in 2020.
Transportation Authority staff provide periodic reports to the Transportation Authority Board on the project's progress, describing status and key activities, upcoming milestones, and the project schedule and budget. Reports are available as downloadable PDFs: