A biker on Valencia Street, near a Valencia Street parklet. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken March 2, 2022.

This article was updated on March 2, 2:17 p.m.

Good evening, everyone!

I just know you’re hungry for more short and sweet news. So, here is the latest little bite from Mission Moves, my newsy development roundup for the neighborhood. We’re breaking up the piece, and don’t want you to miss a thing.

Read the latest installments regarding an avocado tree that has fueled the flames of an 18th St. housing project, and what a semi-uncommon, new tranche of affordable housing funding could mean for the city.

And with that, let’s start with the news cycle on bicycles.

The bike lanes that fewer than one-fifth of survey respondents want remain virtually unchanged

The Valencia Street bike lane design was tweaked again a few weeks ago, and maybe for good.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors will hear these changes and the final version of the bike lane pilot project “at a future date,” according to an agenda released March 2. Originally, the pilot was slated to be heard on March 7, said Stephen Chun, deputy spokesperson for the transit agency in an email. Whenever, and if approved, the agency will start implementation. 

But those hoping that the most recent design update tossed out the controversial center bike lane design may be sorely disappointed. 

In reality, the major change from February’s design update is the addition of “bikeway buffers,” approximately two-foot-wide white posts and “delineators” that separate the bus lane curb from the bike lane. See the sketch here.

The pilot project also no longer extends to 24th Street, and instead will be from 15th Street to 23rd Street. 

As a refresher, the proposed pilot project places the bike lane smack dab in the middle of Valencia Street, a design that fewer than 18 percent of survey respondents supported in September. 

Many cyclists called a center lane “ridiculous,” and argued that a center design was inaccessible to people with disabilities, children, or bikers who are less confident in their ability to exit and face oncoming car traffic. 

“The project team has pushed back the project’s approval schedule in order to update the pilot design to address the feedback received during the project’s outreach processes,” read a November announcement from the transit agency, in response to the lackluster feedback reviews.

However, a center bike lane remained the central design, according to February’s update. It is unclear why.

Chun added that the agency is also still considering limiting left turns for motorists on the corridor. This would address pedestrian safety, which had been discussed previously. 

And that’s not the only nearby transit project in the works at present. The transportation agency is also seeking to bolster pedestrian safety at the intersection of 16th and Valencia streets by adding “leading pedestrian intervals” as a pedestrian safety measure. These intervals allow a pedestrian to get a head start of about three to seven seconds on the crosswalk before cars are allowed to turn on the green light. 

And 16th Street itself is receiving improvements in Muni efficiency, according to present plans. The portion running from Potrero Avenue to Church Street will be equipped with dedicated transit-only lanes and other safety changes. 

Already, the portion of 16th Street between Potrero Avenue and 3rd Street has undergone fixes. A meeting scheduled for  earlier in the week to hear feedback and questions about the 16th Street Improvement Project was canceled due to weather. But if you want to exercise your voice, don’t fret! Feel free to drop a comment directly through their email at 16thStreet@SFMTA.com or at 415-646-2160.


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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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  1. At this point, any change to the current bike lane on Valencia is fine with *me.
    *20 year valencia st. bicycle commuter.

  2. I truly don’t understand why putting bike lanes next to the curb and parking spots to the left of it, then a lane to the left of that is not a more popular approach. It would just require changing the paint on the ground. That way the parking spots would be protecting the bike lane from incoming traffic. Remove the parking spot if there’s a parklet and let bikes go through where that parking spot would be. They already do that on some soma streets yet they ignore that approach when making bike lanes everywhere else.

  3. The problem is cars parking in the existing bike lane. They are either: picking up food for delivery, picking up people as Uber, lurking around or chillin. The small business’ on the Valencia corridor don’t want anything to change because unfortunately they are beholden to Door dash and other apps. For God sakes even the bike shop doesn’t want customers cycling to his business.

    Valencia, according to MTA chief Tumlin is “the most important bicycle corridor in the city” and yet we design bike facilities without cycling in mind. What a shame.

    1. “The problem is cars parking in the existing bike lane.”

      But cars only do that because so much parking has been removed, and drivers perceive no other choice.

      And why is that? Because the bike lobby think that removing parking is the solution to every problem.

      Had it crossed your mind that maybe the two are related? Take out legal parking and drivers park illegally.

      1. Give out enough tickets and they’ll stop breaking the law and selfishly inconveniencing others. I’m not opining where the bike lane should be, but you can’t design roads to accommodate people who you anticipate will break the law to do what the heck they want.

        1. DPT cannot ticket drivers who block a bike lane, only cops can do that. Do you think that the voters want cops taken off crime-fighting duties in the Mission just to write out traffic tickets? And all so cyclists never have to suffer a slight delay?

          1. DPT doesn’t exist. And, yes, SFMTA enforcement officer can (and sometimes do) ticket illegally parked cars.

      2. Nonsense. Delivery drivers have been double parking, pulling into bike lanes long before we had parklets. They are way to rushed to be bothered even parking in a yellow zone meant for them, they just block the lane instead.

        1. Kim, setting down or picking up is not parking. That is stopping. It is very temporary.

          Whereas parking implies leaving the vehicle unattended for long periods of time e.g. when visiting a restaurant. And that rarely happens in a bike lane.

      3. The “bike lobby” has nothing to do with the recent loss of parking on Valencia. In case you haven’t noticed, ridiculously named “shared spaces” have taken over most of the parking on Valencia between 16th and 17th and much of it on other blocks. The friendly/hostile takeover of parking spaces for the benefit of restaurants during the pandemic may or may not have been necessary or beneficial, but it is what happened.

        Also, to be clear. The “bike lobby” – at least the official 501c(3) and 501c(4) wings of it in the form of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition – supported the removal of a (part-time) bike lane on Polk Street, which resulted in a large increase in street parking Monday to Friday during morning commute hours. Though they might not have advocated it, they did opine that saving or losing that particular bike lane was not a transportation issue. It was only a business decision. https://medium.com/@het.pakhuis/getting-san-franciscos-polk-street-bike-lane-back-6cd5c3b0f5e7?sk=4e1e2aaa9392a3f9b97d7b72126cb7a2

        Ten plus years ago, when Polk Street improvements, including safety enhancements for pedestrians and bicyclists, were being developed, there was a strong (but not unified) resistance from small businesses. Those businesses did not want to lose street parking because they feared bankruptcy if the owners couldn’t park their own cars right in the front (no really, just look to see which cars are always parked on the same block on the same side of the street – they certainly don’t belong to a whole bunch of constantly changing customers). Of course, they pretended they needed the parking for customers, but that’s not how it is used. In any event, given how narrow most Polk Street storefronts are, there’s only room for one car to park in front. It is impossible to believe that whoever parked in that spot could spend enough at any business on the block to keep it flush with cash. Most Polk Street shoppers/spenders/diners/drinkers are local and walk to nearby businesses when they go out with cash, credit or debit cards, crypto, gift certificates or food stamps. Densely populated neighborhoods are like that. Sure, there’s the occasional patron who drives in from the Sunset District or Cupertino to get a cup of coffee, but (1) that’s their problem and (2) that’s not going to keep the café afloat.

        When COVID came along and “shared” spaces got invented, restaurant owners went out of their way to colonize parking spaces to try to stave off bankruptcy. In other words, they magically realized that cars are far less important to their bottom line than customers/patrons. The first time I went to Joe’s Ice Cream (on Geary, not Polk) I saw that they have a nice big “shared” space in front on what used to be two or three parking spaces. Inside, they had a petition to SFMTA about the proposed parking changes that would facilitate better and safer Muni service. The petition asked SFMTA not to change the parking from angled to parallel because that would reduce the number of spots available – whether for customers, residents or employees.

        Private automobiles (even those that are ostensibly “shared,” such as those operated by Uber and Lyft drivers) continue to fuck everything up and the city keeps encouraging/enabling them to do so. Yet, at the same time, “the city” by which I mean SFMTA, has long refused to take a hard look at who basically needs a car. If Uber and Lyft and Doordash and all the other “disruptive” “tech” businesses are good and necessary and transformative and here to stay, then it is only their drivers who need to drive and own (or lease or rent) their own cars in San Francisco. Everyone else at those companies can live in Texas or Miami or Zoom to work from virtually anywhere in the world and live in the village/town/city/remote area they like the best. The essential place of those drivers in this brave new economy of “sharing” and laziness has yet to translate into rethinking (while still reducing) street parking.

        For years, SFMTA has refused to recognize the Tenderloin as a residential neighborhood (despite having 15 or so times as many residents as the only slightly smaller Sea Cliff), so they have denied requests to create a Residential Parking Permit zone in the neighborhood. Someone who drives 10 to 12 or more hours a day, seven days a week to keep a family of six housed and fed (and tech-crunch-disruption moving ever-forward) has to search and search and search for a close-to home-parking spot because SFMTA treats residents of the TL as no more worthy of the limited street parking than the dealers and their customers who drive to the TL to work/shop/deal/score or the Department of Justice employees who take much of the street parking around the Federal Building. SFPD has something like three dozen reserved street parking spaces and a garage under TL station and often has cars double parked on Jones and other cars parked in the 31 stop on Eddy at Jones and yet they continue to insist there are huge staffing shortages so they can’t really do anything about anything – and Chesa isn’t there to blame anymore).

    2. The way out of this is to make cycling safer in the city, which then encourages Doordash drivers to trade in their old cars for an ebike credit offered by the BAAQMD Clean Cars for All program. I encourage everyone to watch Not Just Bikes on YouTube. The host explains how safe street design helps couriers too. I noticed that in 2020 there was an Australian mobility company (Bolt) trying out cargo bike rental for gig workers here but I think they got in the market just a tad too soon and it failed, which is a shame. But Warm Planet sells cargo box bikes designed for delivery.

  4. Concerning the so-called revisions; I’m not exactly sure how anyone believes that forcing bikes to weave between curbside protected lanes into the center lane and then back out after 23rd isn’t going to lead to more bike vs car incidents?? All or nothing. Half measures don’t do a damn thing.

  5. Here’s a novel approach; remove 4-8 parking spots on each block in the same stretch along Valencia and replace them with the same number of 15min, designated dropoff and delivery spots for Uber, Lyft, etc so the existing bike lanes can be used, and anyone not using the afformentioned designated spaces can be ticketed or towed.

  6. Hi Annika,

    They’ve never extended this to 14th which is worst intersection under my window at Valencia.

    Couple of months ago a scooter rider got hit due to green strip missing for right turn last couple hundred feet heading North East on Valencia to corner at 14th.

    Might just as well stencil in a Skull and Crossbones in the lane.

    Someone will get killed there.

    Go Niners !!


  7. Is this proposal ideal? Of course not
    Is this proposal a reasonable compromise? Something I could live with? Mostly yes.
    It’s going to be the challenge of how bicyclists handle this type of change and how autos handle this type of change. On paper it looks good and functional.
    It helps preserve some of the parklets in the area, it addresses some of the challenges with some of the existing bike lane. Overall it does quite a lot. So that’s why I would say yes

    1. I vote to remove all parklets and ban gig-food companies. Cyclists won’t use the center lane – I won’t. I will continue to exert my Full Use of Lane rights. A girl can dream….