Van Ness dedicated busway opens after six year construction

By Eleni Balakrishnan, Mission Local, April 1, 2022

“After decades of planning, nearly $350 million, and seemingly endless construction, city officials and transit enthusiasts today inaugurated the anticipated new bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes down Van Ness Avenue.

“Free from car traffic and timed to avoid red lights, … buses on the new so-called BRT lanes are expected to see transit times cut by 32 percent, according to the SFMTA.

“This improved travel time on the lane will have system-wide impacts, said San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Stephen Chun.

“Improvements to Van Ness Avenue have been in the works since a 1989 sales tax expenditure plan to improve mass transit.

“Plans shifted to an aboveground rapid-transit lane by 2003, and construction finally began in 2016, said Chun of the SFMTA. The project included replacement of major utilities, new streetlights, landscaping, and improved accessibility.

“While the bus did glide gloriously past cars stuck in Friday morning traffic [issues remain]. [T]he 49 headed south toward the Mission stopped at one red light after another, [causing the trip to take 20 minutes more] than the pre-BRT 18 minute estimate.”

Read the full article here(~3 min.)

Also in this issue, a featured article by Earl Bossard explores what BRT means for this corridor. Read that article here.

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