Addressing a Critical Need
The Van Ness Avenue corridor is a vital connection between neighborhoods and a regional link for travel between Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. As one of the busiest north-south corridors in the city, Van Ness Avenue serves more than 16,000 riders a day on the 49 Mission/Van Ness and 90 San Bruno Owl bus routes and Golden Gate Transit customers. It is part of the California State Highway System and US Route 101—a primary artery that connects Interstate Highways 280 and 80 with the Golden Gate Bridge.
To promote and implement San Francisco’s transit first policy the City is developing a network of fast, reliable transit, including bus rapid transit (BRT) that will improve transit service, strengthen and expand the city’s transit network, improve efficiency, and improve transit access and mobility for the community.
A key element of the project is separate autos from transit, which will reduce traffic delays, reduce wait times at traffic signals, reduce ride times, and improve safety along Van Ness Avenue motorists, transit riders, and pedestrians alike. By separating transit from general traffic lanes, trip times can be reduced by more than 30%, and provide a more consistent bus schedule.
High-Priority Transit Improvements
The Project separated mixed-flow traffic along Van Ness Avenue from Mission Street to Lombard Street by constructing dedicated northbound and southbound BRT lanes and 18 right-side boarding platforms at nine stations. The project also provided new landscaping and roadway rehabilitation and resurfacing throughout the corridor. Traffic signal enhancements included pedestrian countdown signals and accessible pedestrian signals (APS). Median refuges, nose cones, curb bulbs, and curb ramps were constructed to enhance pedestrian safety. Because this project modified substantial portions of the corridor, it was a collaborative effort. To improve efficiencies and reduce construction costs, other SFMTA projects and City departments replaced and/or upgraded their facilities as part of this Project.
Complex Project Delivery
Ghirardelli Associate (Ghirardelli) represented the project as the single point of contact for project scheduling coordination to meet project delivery goals and schedule and to find strategies to recover from schedule delays. Ghirardelli’s Construction Manager prepared, reviewed, and provided recommendations to the project on additional work, change orders, claims, and cost impacts to the project. We evaluated and provided recommendations to the program manager for project staffing needs; prepared risk analysis and cost estimates for any major change order or claims; provided recommendations on negotiation strategies with guidance from the project claim team and represented the project as a key negotiator with the contractor on major contract change orders and claims. Ghirardelli participated in the dispute resolution board and helped prepare any negotiation strategies to protect the City’s interests. We also conducted weekly construction staff meetings to address major issues and potential resolutions. Lastly, Ghirardelli provided recommendations to the program manager and director on necessary strategies to keep the project running at its optimum pace.
A Successfully Executed Multi-model Bus Rapid Transit System
This was a massive civic improvement project that not only provided San Francisco with its first Bus Rapid Transit system but also some much-needed infrastructure improvements above and below ground. To maximize the benefits during construction, the project included extensive utility maintenance, civic improvements, and safety enhancements that have revitalized this historic corridor. Van Ness was redesigned with inclusivity and accessibility in mind. Accessible Pedestrian Signals are now located at every crosswalk and at the locations for boarding platforms, and there are additional directions provided for people who are low-vision and blind. Buses pull up directly to the curb at boarding islands to allow a smoother boarding experience for all passengers and their mobility needs as the slope of the ramp is lower. Newly paved sidewalks and bright lighting allow for safer walking and travel along the corridor.