Van Ness Avenue (San Francisco)
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Van Ness Avenue San Francisco
Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco City Hall as seen from 100 Van Ness at dusk (cropped).jpg
Van Ness Avenue and San Francisco City Hall at dusk
Former name(s)Marlette Street
Part of between the Central Freeway and Lombard Street
NamesakeJames Van Ness
Maintained bySan Francisco DPW, Caltrans
Length4.2 mi[1] (6.8 km)
Nearest metro stationBSicon LOGO SFmuni.svg Van Ness station
South endCesar Chavez (Army) Street
North endAquatic Park Pier

Van Ness Avenue is a north-south thoroughfare in San Francisco, California. Originally named Marlette Street, the street was renamed Van Ness Avenue in honor of the city's seventh mayor, James Van Ness.[2][3][when?]

The main part of Van Ness Avenue runs from Market Street near the Civic Center north to Bay Street at Fort Mason. South Van Ness Avenue is the portion of Van Ness south of Market Street, continuing through the city's South of Market and Mission districts to end at Cesar Chavez Street. This southern segment was formerly a continuation of Howard Street, having been renamed by resolution of the Board of Supervisors on August 22, 1932.[4]

The route is designated US 101 from the Central Freeway at the convergence of South Van Ness, Howard Street, and 13th Street, north to Lombard Street.[5] Of the more striking landmarks along the route are the San Francisco City Hall, the War Memorial Opera House, and Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall.


Originally a quiet residential neighborhood of mansions, the street was used as a firebreak by the US Army during the 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed most of San Francisco. Many of the buildings were dynamited along the street by soldiers in an ultimately successful attempt to prevent the firestorm from spreading west to the entire city.

After the earthquake, Van Ness served as the temporary commercial center and main thoroughfare of San Francisco, as it ultimately evolved into a busy commercial district in its own right, attracting many car dealerships that still exist, as most of the city's car and scooter dealerships line the street. It still remains a generally upscale area with large and grand apartment buildings, restaurants, and movie theaters.

Streetcar service started on Van Ness in 1915 for the opening of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. The rail lines were removed in the 1950s and replaced with a tree-lined median.[6]

First recorded traffic accident (1865)

DREADFUL ACCIDENT: Wm. P. Slocomb, a young man about 18 years old, son of R.W. Slocomb, of the Tenth District, met with a terrible accident yesterday. He was riding home on horseback, and when about Bush Street and Van Ness Avenue, met a milk team running away. The team struck the horse young Slocomb was riding, and knocked down horse and rider. His foot caught in the stirrup, and animal ran away, dragging the boy for some distance, and finally breaking his skull.[7]


The Academy of Art University owns and operates several buildings on the street for housing and academic purposes.[8]

Major intersections

The entire route is within the borders of San Francisco.

Destinations Notes
Cesar Chavez Street
south (Central Freeway) to east - San Jose South end of US 101 overlap; interchange
Mission Street
Market Street
Geary Boulevard
north (Lombard Street) - Golden Gate Bridge North end of US 101 overlap
Bay Street "Three Corners"

See also


  1. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps.
  2. ^ San Francisco Planning Department (2009). "Area Plan: Van Ness Avenue". City & County of San Francisco. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Early San Francisco Street Names: 1846-1849". San Francisco Museum. Retrieved .
  4. ^ "LIFE IN THE MISSION by Frank R. Quinn - FoundSF".
  5. ^ The location of Van Ness Avenue, Google Map
  6. ^ Rodriguez, Joe Fitzgerald (January 15, 2016). "Trees, historic trolley poles to be removed for bus project". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "6 Nov 1865, 3 - The San Francisco Examiner at".
  8. ^ "Academy of Art University Campus Map" (PDF). Academy of Art University. Retrieved 2017.

Coordinates: 37°48?29?N 122°25?36?W / 37.80802°N 122.42659°W / 37.80802; -122.42659

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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