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Erasing left turn lanes on Van Ness signals transit-first future

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A rendering of the Van Ness Improvement Project shows Muni buses running in dedicated center transit lanes along Van Ness Avenue.

Another left turn on Van Ness Avenue will get permanently removed Friday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The elimination of the left turn lane on Van Ness at Hayes Street leaves drivers with just one left turn in each direction: at Lombard Street in the northbound direction, and southbound at Broadway.

The elimination of left turns on Van Ness is part of the SFMTA’s $316 million Van Ness Improvement Project, which will transform the median along Van Ness to center running bus-only lanes for Muni and Golden Gate Transit to help speed up the buses.

Officials also said the elimination of the left turn lanes will help make the corridor safer for pedestrians, citing that Van Ness is part of The City’s high injury network where 70 percent of collisions occur on 12 percent of city streets.

Other changes that drivers will take notice a slight shift in traffic on the morning of July 12 so that the SFMTA can extend the two current construction zones.

The construction zone on western side of Van Ness will extend from Sutter to Mission streets and from Lombard to Sutter streets on the eastern side of Van Ness.

Parking will be limited in the area and color curbed zones and bus stops will be relocated.

Crews will be working on replacing the water and sewer systems from the 1800s, upgrading the emergency firefighting water system and installing new street and sidewalk lighting, plus landscaping.

The SFMTA said construction on the project will continue through mid-2020.

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