SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Major changes are coming to Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, but construction for what the Municipal Railway is calling the “Bus Rapid Transit corridor” that was supposed to begin Monday is already behind schedule.
The first changes will be installed at the intersection of Van Ness and Broadway, where the left-turn lanes will initially become mandatory turns. But eventually, drivers won’t be able to turn left at all.
The SFMTA has released drawings of what Van Ness Avenue will look like in the future. One of the most heavily traveled corridors in San Francisco, Van Ness will be the first major thoroughfare to have changes implemented with buses running down the middle of the roadway instead of along the sides.
According to the SFMTA website, construction was supposed to start on October 24, but the contractor just got the permits last week.
“We do expect him to start very soon, but not today,” said SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose.
Eventually, all of the left-turn options along the two-mile stretch of Van Ness between Market and Lombard will be eliminated. Drivers will only be able to go straight or right.
Some drivers KPIX 5 spoke with were not thrilled about the pending changes.
“I’ll have to leave earlier and take another route or use my Waze app,” said Rosanna Sansone of Marin.
At some intersections, the left-turn restrictions start next month.
“They should come up with other plans, whether it’s looking at GPS or making three right turns to get them back on route instead of turning left,” said Rose.
Heavy construction is set to start in December.
Before its over, Van Ness be transformed above and below ground with new water and sewer lines, new trees and lighting in the medians, and fewer options for drivers.
“It’s frustrating, but San Francisco in general is hard to get around in,” said Roseville resident Brett Bethel.
Once finished, the changes are expected to improve travel time for Muni customers by 32 percent. The improvements are scheduled to be completed in 2019.