SFMTA's newest proposal could create 'slaloming' bike lane along Valencia St.

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Friday, June 14, 2024
SFMTA proposal could create 'slaloming' bike lane along Valencia St.
SFMTA says that in moving away from the controversial center bike lane on Valencia Street, they would let businesses decide between two options that would make the bike lane weave around parklets.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A new twist to the bike lane controversy on Valencia Street in San Francisco would literally lead to a twisting lane.

For months merchants along Valencia Street have been pleading for the city to remove the center bike lane, saying that it's had a direct impact on business.

Merchants have been blaming the center bike lane for a decline in business because it eliminated 70 parking spaces.

RELATED: SFMTA looks to get alternative for controversial Valencia St. center bike lane approved

During a digital roundtable, SFMTA said they've heard multiple complaints from merchants and are ready to propose the removal of the controversial bike lane.

"Now that we have heard from them we are realizing that the best option for both safety and to support the local merchants is likely a side-running design," said Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTAs Director.

The next pivot will be a side-running bike lane. One design would force cyclists to ride around restaurant parklets -- closer to traffic. The other would have cyclists ride between the curb and the parklets.

SFMTA is now planning to let each merchant decide which of the two options they like for the side running lane.

That would mean one business owner with a parklet could keep it next to the sidewalk, and another could push it out into an island. The bike lane would weave around them.

RELATED: SF restaurant owners say Valencia St. will 'die' if controversial bike lane is not revised

San Francisco restaurant owners say the Valencia Street bike lane is driving away customers and business as there is no space left to park.

Earlier this week, SFMTA Chief of Staff Viktoriya Wise spoke about the potential of combining the two options.

"Is going to be a mix. If you as a merchant want to choose to keep your parklet at the curb you can do that, and we will slalom the bike lane around your parklet. If you would like it to move your parklet into a floating configuration and some merchants may choose to do that because it provides more parking in front of their business then we will work with them," Wise said.

ABC7 News spoke with a business owner who has run a coffee shop on Valencia for 33 years.

"Financially we are hurting. We had the place up for sale three months ago but we were not able to sale the business," said Hisham Massarweh, Muddy Waters owner. "I think this should be take it out as soon as possible and bring back parking spaces."

SFMTA will present its proposals to the board of directors on Tuesday.

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