The Van Ness No-Left-Turn Maze—Be Prepared to Re-Routed

Well…they’re taking out the beloved old time lamp poles on Van Ness (known as the Ribbon of Light) as part of the new corridor function of the wide, famous avenue to accommodate transit buses running down the middle of the street. Now they’re (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) outlawing left hand turns on Van Ness except for northbound at Lombard (thank God for that) and southbound at Broadway (temporarily). Oh—until April 2017 you can left turn northbound on Hayes). This ban on left turns starts November 12th so you’ll have to get used to planning your routes out more carefully, and who knows when the GPS devices will catch up with this.

Here’s one helpful method for getting off Van Ness on the street you want to be traveling on. Three right turns and you’re on the street you want going across Van Ness—similar to negotiating 19th street and its cross streets.

The heavy construction starts in December and eventually Van Ness will be transformed above and below ground, including new water and sewer lines, new trees and the ugly modern lighting poles that will replace the classic antique ones.

Some of Van Ness heavy traffic patterns can be attributed to the thousands of apartments that have been added over time on the blocks adjacent to the corridor. Large buildings like One Daniel Burnham Court and Opera Plaza were in the vanguard when they were built in the 1980s, but another building spree happened in the late 90s/early 2000s on blocks between Van Ness and Polk, like 1776 Sacramento and 1650 Jackson. More recently, large buildings like the Rockwell and 1450 Franklin are adding hundreds of homes to the neighborhood.

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