Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Transportation & Infrastructure
Published on November 03, 2016
SFMTA Videos Aim To Demystify Van Ness Avenue Construction PlansPhoto: Brittany Hopkins/Hoodline

The SFMTA has released a trio of online videos previewing the modifications underway along Van Ness Avenue, which kicked off on October 24th. The videos herald a glowing future for San Francisco’s traffic “backbone,” but offer fewer details on how the city plans to minimize congestion and safety risks along the busy corridor while the work, which will conclude in 2019, proceeds.

The videos, embedded below (and available on the Van Ness Improvement Project website), offer a brief overview of the project, a closer look at the agency’s plan for traffic flow during the three-year construction period, and details on what, exactly, construction crews will be doing over the next three years.

A brief overview of the project.

The project will involve replacing century-old underground water and sewer pipes, repaving the street, and constructing a bus rapid transit (BRT) line for the 47 and 49 buses, which will run in the median.

To accomplish that goal, all but 12 of Van Ness' street trees will be removed from the median, to be replaced on a 2-for-1 basis once the project is complete. However, the corridor's vintage street lamps will be permanently removed, a move that has drawn some criticism.

A video on how to navigate Van Ness during construction.

Residents and businesses along the corridor are receiving advance notices as work is to proceed along their respective segments of Van Ness, agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

“Neighbors were mailed a 30-45 day construction notice and door hangers have been hung in advance of construction,” Rose said. “Once the initial median work is completed and the roadway is prepared for construction in January, we will be canvassing blocks two weeks before construction is expected."

Parking notifications require a minimum of 72 hours, Rose noted, adding that those who sign up for project update emails or text messages can receive a weekly construction forecast letting them know what to expect in the following two weeks.

The agency is also alerting surrounding cities to the project, he said. “Press releases will be released (and there will be) advertising, roadway signage, direct outreach and partnering with other organizations, such as Golden Gate Transit, Caltrans and cultural organizations, to get the word out to their communities."

A video breaking down the phases of the construction project.

Two topics not mentioned in the videos: the elimination of most of Van Ness’s left-turn pockets will be permanent, and some bus stops will be eliminated or moved once the BRT line launches.

When the project is complete, bi-directional median stops will be located at Union Street, Vallejo Street, Jackson Street, Sacramento Street, Sutter Street, Geary-O’Farrell, Eddy Street, McAllister Street and Market Street.

Northbound stops at Grove, Geary-Post and California streets and southbound stops Pacific, Pine, Post and Grove streets will be discontinued.

Seeking regular updates on the project? Text “YES” to (415) 413-4201 or sign up for email updates at