SF residents are mostly confused, but also royally annoyed and angered, that the SFMTA's seemingly straightforward project to add bus rapid-transit lanes down the center of Van Ness Avenue has somehow taken four years.
The SFMTA will tell you that the project required a lot of moving parts, including moving and replacing all kinds of underground sewer and electrical lines. And perhaps we mere mortals are wrong to question that a couple of red lanes down the center of an existing street, complete with some new trees, should take so goddamn long. But after kicking off the work — which often went long into the night, as residents along the Van Ness corridor can attest — in October 2016, before the last election, we are now seeing a material change in form of red concrete going down for the lanes themselves.
Agency director Jeffrey Tumlin tweeted photos of the work happening on Tuesday morning, which may be reassuring to some who wondered if this project would ever get done.
Crews are hard at work today putting down red concrete for Van Ness Ave bus lanes pic.twitter.com/ZNWBSFmkgy— Jeffrey Tumlin (@jeffreytumlin) November 10, 2020
And it's not even close to done!
This boondoggle, which surely we have to call it — five years? for two bus lanes?? — won't actually be a functioning part of the Muni bus system until late next year or early 2022! As the latest timeline shows, the build-out of these actual lanes continues into the middle of next year. The installation of power lines and "beautification" phase hasn't even begun yet. And "testing" and the launch of actual BRT service isn't even scheduled until what looks like November or December of next year, which means spring 2022.
Tumlin told the Chronicle last month that the project should be "wrapping up" by this time next year. But that's not a lot of comfort given that it was supposed to be open by 2019, and that puts it somewhere around two and a half years behind?
So, sorry, everybody. And sorry to those of you living along Van Ness or nearby. The long nightmare won't even end with the pandemic. It will go on, well into the Biden Administration and then some.