After what seems like years of talking and even more spent waiting for the 47-Van Ness, the San Francisco County Transit Authority and the Board of Supervisors finally cleared the way for Bus Rapid Transit along Van Ness Avenue on Tuesday. The project promises to speed up trips between Mission and Lombard Streets by a modest six and a half minutes, but with all the bureaucratic hangups and necessary environmental studies, the Van Ness BRT is already running late and probably won't start zipping up and down the corridor until 2018 at the earliest.
Like the BRT project on Geary Boulevard, the Van Ness BRT will reconfigure one of San Francisco's busiest streets to match that oft-touted Transit First policy. In this case, the median will be removed for two dedicated bus-only lanes and boarding platforms. Left turns off of Van Ness will be completely banished except for the intersection with Broadway.
While the renderings show an idyllic view of the project, it will still be years before you're actually transferring from the N-Judah at Van Ness Station to the 49X-BRT (or whatever they decide to call it). As Curbed pointed out four years ago the project was supposed to begin in 2006 and be done by this year. Now that the city is finally getting its act together, expect another five years before the $126 million project is completed in 2018.
Finally, as a brief addendum, and because we love a good NIMBY fight, local transit activist Andy Bosselman brings this delightful account of one of the recent (public) meetings to discuss the BRT project where one member of the constantly argumentative Middle Polk Association actually accused members of the S.F. Transit Riders Union of being spies.