Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit

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Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit
Lane closure for Van Ness BRT construction work, July 2017.JPG
Early construction work near Market Street in July 2017
HeadquartersOne South Van Ness Avenue, Seventh Floor
LocaleSan Francisco, California, United States
Service typeBus rapid transit
Routes30X Marina Express, 47 Van Ness, 49 Van Ness/Mission, 76X Marin Headlands Express, 90 San Bruno Owl
OperatorSan Francisco Municipal Railway, Golden Gate Transit
System map

Geary BRT
Market Street
BSicon LOGO SFmuni.svg

The Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project is designed to bring rapid transit services to the thoroughfare from Mission Street to Lombard Street.[1] Dedicated bus lanes for the 47 Van Ness bus route, 49 Van Ness–Mission trolleybus route, and Golden Gate Transit are to be constructed along the median with 6-inch (152 mm) side platforms at stations for boarding and alighting passengers away from the curb.[2] Additionally, underground water and sewer replacement and landscaping will take place on Van Ness Avenue. The project is estimated to be completed in late 2021.[3]


Temporary bus stop used during construction

Van Ness had previously hosted trolley service in the form of the H Potrero streetcar line starting in 1915. The trolley poles used for that service were deemed too deteriorated to be retrofitted for modern use.[4]

Muni had planned a transit corridor improvement project on Van Ness since 1989 as part of the Proposition B sales tax expenditure plan.[5] The transit expansion part of the expenditure plan formed the basis of the 1995 Four Corridor Plan by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA), which planned for rail expansions along four priority corridors including Van Ness.[6] The corridors included the Bayshore Corridor which became the T Third Street Muni extension, and a proposed rail line along Geary Boulevard which ultimately became the Geary Bus Rapid Transit project. The third corridor to North Beach was implemented as the Central Subway project. The Van Ness corridor was considered to be phase four of these four corridors and was to be implemented last, beyond the twenty year planning timeline of Proposition B. Ultimately, however, Van Ness BRT broke ground before the Geary Boulevard improvements, which had a higher priority in the plan, were approved.

By 2003, neither improvements in the Four Corridor Plan for Geary nor Van Ness had materialized. With the Proposition B sales tax expiring in 2010, a new sales tax was proposed in 2003 as the Proposition K ballot measure. The ballot measure, which was passed by the voters, specified an expenditure plan that included bus rapid transit on these two corridors.[7] The SFCTA began to formally plan the project after the passage of Proposition K in 2004, with a completion date planned for 2012.[8] However, the project was delayed and the project finally broke ground in 2017 with a completion date planned for 2019.[9] Issues encountered during construction delayed the completion date further to 2020.[10][11] By January 2019, the timeline for completion had again slipped to late 2021.[3]


There has been much community backlash pertaining to the change in traffic patterns and loss of parking along the corridor.[1] Concerns that trees would be removed were met with plans to plant more trees on the route.[4]

The use of low platforms with a high-floor buses has been criticized as bus rapid transit creep.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Tyler, Carolyn (18 November 2014). "CONCERNS RAISED OVER BRT LANES ON SAN FRANCISCO'S VAN NESS AVENUE". ABC. KGO-TV. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  2. ^ a b Cabanatuan, Michael (July 15, 2014). "Muni opposition hinders bus rapid transit". Hearst Communications. San Francisco Gate. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b Matier, Phil (16 January 2019). "SF's Van Ness project nearly 2 years behind schedule, millions in cost overruns". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald (January 15, 2016). "Trees, historic trolley poles to be removed for bus project". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  5. ^ "San Francisco Voter Information Pamphlet" (PDF). November 7, 1989. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  6. ^ San Francisco County Transportation Authority (June 1995). "Four Corridor Plan" (PDF). Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  7. ^ "San Francisco Voter Information Pamphlet" (PDF). November 4, 2003. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Bialick, Aaron (December 2, 2011). "What's the Hold Up for Van Ness BRT?". Streetsblog SF. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Chinn, Jerold (March 2, 2017). "Work begins on Van Ness transit corridor". SF Bay. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald (October 16, 2017). "Two-mile-long Van Ness bus lane project faces two-year delay". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  11. ^ Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald (April 23, 2018). "Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit construction delayed another 5 months". San Francisco Examiner.

External links[edit]