Overview
Rendering of Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit

Introduction

The Van Ness Improvement Project is bringing San Francisco its first Bus Rapid Transit system. Project improvements include bus-only lanes, rapid bus service, signal prioritization for buses, and a suite of safety improvements such as sidewalk extensions, high-visibility crosswalks, audible countdown signals, and more. To maximize the benefits of construction, the City will also be replacing major utilities including water, sewer, and emergency firefighting water systems.

Resources

SFMTA has convened a Citizens Advisory Committee to guide decisions related to the design, construction, and implementation of the project, with meetings open to the public. Visit the SFMTA's project page for upcoming project and committee meeting information. 

Project Partners

The Transportation Authority led this project through the feasibility and environmental review phases. The project received environmental approvals in 2013 from the Transportation Authority Board, the SFMTA Board, and the Federal Transit Administration, and project traffic approval in 2014 from Caltrans. Since then, SFMTA has managed project implementation and construction

With over $36 million of Prop K half-cent sales tax funds supporting the project, the Transportation Authority continues to provide project support and oversight to ensure environmental compliance and implementation.

Timeline and Status 

Construction began in October 2016 and is expected to be complete by 2021.

Cost and Funding 

The cost of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit Bus Rapid Transit project is $169.6 million. The project is part of an overall larger Van Ness Improvement Project, totaling $309.3 million, which combines the bus rapid transit project with several parallel infrastructure upgrade projects including installation of new overhead trolley contacts, traffic signal replacements, sewer and water improvements, and street lights.

Contact 

Mike Tan, Administrative Engineer, mike.tan@sfcta.org

SFMTA: vannessbrt@sfmta.com 
 

Key features

The Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit 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 Muni routes and Golden Gate Transit. The transit-only lanes will run along center landscaped medians down 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.

 

 

Image
A rendering highlighting the project's key features
Background

One of the main features of a Bus Rapid Transit system is dedicated bus lanes, which get buses out of congested traffic and reduce delays. New boarding platforms are another part of a Bus Rapid Transit system and make it safer and easier to get on and off the bus. Other features that keep the buses moving, like stop changes and traffic signal adjustments, can save riders even more time.

Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit is a signature project of the The Transportation Authority’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 Transportation Authority led this project through the feasibility and environmental review phases. The project received environmental approvals in 2013 from the Transportation Authority Board, the SFMTA Board, and the Federal Transit Administration, and project traffic approval in 2014 from Caltrans. Since then, SFMTA has managed project implementation and construction. Construction began in October 2016. With over $36 million of Prop K half-cent sales tax funds supporting the project, the Transportation Authority continues to provide project support and oversight to ensure environmental compliance and efficient implementation.

Reports & documents

The Transportation Authority led the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Project, in partnership with the Set FMTA and the Federal Transit Administration, through the completion of environmental review, marked by the issuance of a Record of Decision by the Federal Transit Administration on December 20, 2013. 

Related programs

A bus in a red bus-only lane on Market Street, surrounded by green bike lanes.

San Francisco's voter-approved Transit-First Policy states that decisions regarding the use of our public streets and sidewalks shall prioritize public rights of way for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit.