A pilot program to study protected bike lanes on Valencia began this January, but was limited to only two blocks between Duboce Ave and 15th street on Valencia. We asked area residents what if they thought the new bike lanes were making things safer.

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16 Comments

  1. Protected bike lanes on the rest of Valencia can’t come soon enough. There are currently so many cars blocking the lanes in the evening the lanes are useless: Lyft/Uber drivers and customers still illegally dropping/ picking up in the lanes; blocks with restaurants on them – I’m particularly looking at Tacolicious and others between 18th and 19th – are continuously blocked by delivery drivers picking up food. (Which is ridiculous – food deliveries in the Mission area should be happening on bikes!) There should be white zones put in place on every block of Valencia before any more people get hurt.

  2. I walk through here all the time and I just have to say that it is so much nicer to walk these blocks of Valencia now. i didn’t quite realize before what an impact the line of cars had on making the sidewalk feel crowded. I realize this was mainly to protect bikes, but moving cars further away from the sidewalk has been a great improvement as well.

  3. Valencia St should roll out protected bike lane on the other blocks ASAP. I’ve been biking along this corridor since 2010 and it has got significantly more annoying and probably more dangerous for cyclists, with all the extra loading and delivery activities. I feel safer on these protected blocks and every cyclist I know is a huge fan.

  4. I live on Valencia. The bike lane now runs next to the curb in front of my apartment, parking spaces were reduced, and meters were changed, all if this a few years AFTER the city reduced the street to two lanes from four. In addition, SF supervisors have recently decreed that developers no longer need to provide parking for new apartment buildings, so we can now expect more gridlock, not less.

    The configuration of the new bike lanes is extremely confusing and feels more like an obstacle course, with extensive lane markings and white polls sticking up to delineate and outline space, along with the distinctive green paths. Friends complain about the lack of parking and thick traffic, and over the years many simply decline to visit.

    Bikes have a place, but so do cars, especially for we seniors and the disabled. Muni and bikes are not the answer for all residents all the time.

  5. “Vehicles loading” means Lyft and Uber, right? Why can’t those apps just block ride share cars pickups on streets with bike lanes? Using the side streets instead for Lyft/Uber pickups and drop offs will be much safer for everyone.

  6. I’ve been riding Valencia so cr the 90’s. When I saw the first “protected bike lane”, the first thing I thought was “Oh shit, another solution without a problem”. For ages, I’ve had this stretch dialed….keep your eyes on the doors, stay with traffic, and look back if you need to kick into a lane to get around slow bikes or cars parked in the bike lane. 19th Ave is scary. Parts of SOMA are edgy. Valencia? It was always a walk-in-the-park. Now? I’ve gotta re-learn this whole stretch. Four times, I’ve seen cars pulling into the mouth of this lane….once, the were two deep. Getting around them requires much more than a rearward glance and a quick flick of the bars. Lastly, all my life I’ve taught myself to look for doors-opening and pedestrians-crossing from the right. At my age, these have become almost instinctual behaviors. All of a sudden, car doors open on the left, and pedestrians are initiating crossings from that side too. I view protected lakes as well-intentioned but misguided. They might address a few issues of bike transit, but not without creating a few new ones…

  7. The two blocks of marginally improved bike lanes are tokenism at its worst. Even these lanes are sometimes blocks because there is no enforcement or ticketing.

    The Duboce to 15th Street lanes in some ways make the situation worse because they give the appearance of SFMTA (and Mayor Breed) are doing something substantial to improve biker safety, when they are not doing anything substantial.

    Two widened bike lanes out of 15 is what we’re talking about. The Mayor is loathe to offend businesses on Valencia and couldn’t care less about the biker safety. We should demand Breed ride Valencia on a bicycle every day until all 15 blocks are fixed and kept clear by meter maid ticketed enforcement 24/7.

  8. I am a 4 day a week bike rider. I live in the Mission (Dolores Park). While I generally applaud the bike lanes I feel that with the Valencia “experiment” there is too extreme and dangerous confusion by both cars (yes, sigh – I am occasionally in a car! Are you, ever? ), and bikes also.. There needs to be a more balanced and respectful approach to bike lanes. Honestly, having rode the Valencia corridor over 28 years, my take is – cmon, really?!?!?! Where is the logic in this? I have attended several / way too many meetings for bike lane changes, and it is way too strident and polarizing. Talk to any of the merchants on Valencia Street and you will know exactly what I am talking about. The bicycle coalition does so much good but it is tempered by so much damage to the city. For a city that celebrates diversity it is disingenuous for the bicycle advocates to push changes that damage communities and the fabric of the city – at the cost of families who rely on cars to get their children to ODC for dance, drum lessons in SOMA, sports etc. Case in point: navigating Cesar Chavez to get to the highway for east/west travel has become atrocious since the removal of lanes (when corridor home owners have acknowledged this is a major corridor for travel, which their real estate rentals and mortagages have considered and reflected for years). You can have too much of a “good thing”… just as Facebook and Instagram have co–opted and corrupted a generation , so has the bike-buslanes-scooter-remove 4 parking spots for bike-share – all legitimate great concepts, gone too far. At the expense of families, corner stores and a livable city I loved and still want to love.

  9. There are actually four new blocks of protected bike lanes on Valencia, from 15th all the way to Market St. The configuration is somewhat confusing, and it took a couple times riding it to get used to, but it definitely feels safer to me. But even better would be to have a two-way protected bike lane running down the center of Valencia St., and no left turns for cars turning off Valencia. As a cyclist, cars would not enter your designated space, so you’d only need to look out for them when you initiate the movement. It’s much easier to be safe when it’s the cyclist choosing to go into the car lanes, rather than the other way around.

  10. This project is 4 blocks long (Market to 15th) not 2, and the work hasn’t been completed yet. It’s true that a new design solves some problems and may create new ones, but the current situation south of 15th is unacceptable with all the illegal double parking and blocking of the bike lane. Most changes like this one are necessitated by the bad behavior of too many drivers and non-existent enforcement.

  11. People that approved these lanes are bunch of selfish morons. I live in this area and they took away all the meters parking from us residents. These lanes shouldn’t b made for residential area. There are at least 3 spouts that should have meters but they decided to make it illegal to park with those white strip lines. What’s the point of that when there aren’t enough meters around. It’s so congested. If I were to wait for someone to leave, guess what? Everyone behind me must wait while I wait for my parking spot. Have these morons ever thought of those? I swear people lack common sense.

  12. Campers,

    I live at 14th and Valencia and walk the ‘new and improved’ works and generally love them.

    There is, as several posters have noted, lots of confusion in how the routes for auto and
    bike traffic are marked in paint and often in tape.

    Yeah, in tape.

    There should be no ‘Tow Away’ parking spots in front of bars and liquor stores and bodegas.

    My buddy, Denny Carlin complained and they changed the ‘Tow Away’ zone …

    To a ‘Loading Zone only … 30 minutes

    His vendors for his cafe now can easily unload their goods.

    Customers for his huge laundromat can offload and onload clothes.

    It’s a work in progress.

    On Valencia between 15th and 14th the bike lane suddenly swerves
    away from the curb and allows cars to duck in.

    Instructions are in tape.

    SFMTA hasn’t figured it out yet and need more input.

    But, hey, they are making the effort and spending the bucks.

    My input?

    They don’t need a single ‘Tow Away’ zone.

    And, when they move bikes from running on inside lane to
    being routed away from the curb, they should be protected
    with the little post thingies marked in orange or someone’s
    sure gonna get hurt as the automobile traffic kept away
    from the curb is suddenly re-routed.

    Moving along.

    Go Giants!

    h.

    1. “On Valencia between 15th and 14th the bike lane suddenly swerves
      away from the curb and allows cars to duck in.”

      That’s it in a nutshell. The protected portions of the lane are great, but they instill a false sense of security and render something like this even more dangerous. All of the sudden there’s a car swerving across your path that you were lulled into thinking wouldn’t be there.

      1. Joe,

        The last hundred feet of bike lane headed north from
        15th to 14th could be ‘clarified’ just by doing the solid
        green strip complete with the baffles but in red.

        There should be a red line for automobile traffic to be
        alerted they are about to cross live (for now) cyclists path.

        Go Giants!

        h

    2. White passenger pick up/drop off zones and yellow commercial loading zones are needed on both sides of every block. I’d say yellow zones are fine except the issue is evenings and weekends most of those yellow zones turn into parking spots. That doesn’t work for passenger loading/unloading which causes the most disruption to street traffic. Maybe we need a new color for commercial during delivery hours, passenger loading otherwise. Or maybe commercial loading should be allowed in white zones. (And the yellow zones don’t need to be in front of everyone’s business, that’s what dollies/carts are for.)

      And to folks not happy about the parking removal: I know this impacts folks that have to use cars but I think that we’re at a societal point where we have to stop dedicating so much of our streets to private storage of vehicles. It’s time to start changing our cultural from “everyone gets a car and gets to park wherever they want to” to sure, use a car if you need to but that privilege shouldn’t come at the expense of making other modes of transportation harder/more dangerous. Have friends take a taxi or public transportation to come visit. For those with mobility issues, check out SF Paratransit. Park your car in a public garage or rent a spot – or, if it really comes down to it, perhaps move to a place that comes with a parking spot. Valencia St is one of the highest cycled streets in the city and it’s often crowded with pedestrians. It’s time to reduce the auto traffic and auto conflicts on the street for the health of our citizens, not to mention the planet.

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