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City to remove left turn on Van Ness, leaving only two lefts on corridor

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A driver waits to turn left from Van Ness Avenue onto Hayes Street on Wednesday, July 4, 2018. The last place where drivers can turn left on Van Ness, it will be eliminated on Friday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Right, right, right.

That’s the new normal on Van Ness Avenue for drivers trying to head east or west, as left turns down the busy corridor have been whittled away by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to speed up bus travel.

Friday, the agency is set to eliminate yet another left turn at Hayes Street on Van Ness.

This latest traffic twist will leave Van Ness with only two remaining left turns: northbound at Lombard Street and southbound at Broadway Street.

The change is part of the $316 million Van Ness Improvement Project, which is set to see the 47 and 49 Muni buses and Golden Gate Transit run along center medians in transit-only lanes, so they operate more like trains. This is set to speed up transit service, according to the SFMTA.

Left turn removals also helped SFMTA planners re-time traffic signals on Van Ness and other streets to improve traffic flow, according to an SFMTA press statement. Van Ness is also on The City’s high injury network, a map of its deadliest streets from traffic collisions. “Left turns are one of the leading causes of these collisions,” SFMTA wrote.

SFMTA plans to shift traffic lanes on July 12 to expand construction zones for the Van Ness Improvement Project, which also will see The City replace 22,000 feet of 1800s-era water mains, strengthen the street’s earthquake resiliency, install new streetlights and more. The project is expected to be under construction until mid-2020, according to the SFMTA.

joe@sfexaminer.com

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