Parking-protected bike lanes to be tested on Valencia Street early next year

Photo: SFMTA

A protected bike lane pilot is coming to Valencia Street between Market and 15th streets in early 2019, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced Wednesday.

Plans for the pilot program will be heard at the SFMTA's board of directors meeting on December 4. City crews are then expected to begin construction "using temporary, low-cost materials as much as possible," the agency said.

An evaluation of the temporary design will support the decision on how a longer-term, corridor-wide project may follow.

The news comes after Mayor London Breed directed the SFMTA to fast track a fully parking-protected bike lane on Valencia Street and community workshops were held by the SFMTA in July.

"I am tired of waiting for months, and often years, for important Vision Zero projects to be implemented when we know they are urgently needed to protect pedestrians and bicyclists," Mayor Breed said in a statement regarding her directive last month.

On an average weekday, 2,100 cyclists commute along the corridor, the SFMTA states. Between January 2012 and December 2016, 204 people were injured in 268 reported collisions on Valencia, one of which was fatal.

In a statement issues last month, representatives of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition thanked Mayor Breed for her "leadership in boldly advancing street safety for the thousands of people who bike and walk every day."

As we've previously reported, between 2012 and 2016, 40 percent of all collisions on Valencia were between vehicles and bicycles, compared to 37 percent of collisions between vehicles. Dooring, in which a cyclist crashes when a driver opens a car door into the bike lane, is the most frequent collision type along the corridor.

In the coming weeks, the SFMTA project team now plans to conduct door-to-door outreach with merchants -- for feedback on potential parking and loading changes on Valencia Street curbs from 15th to 24th streets -- and follow up with other community stakeholders. The team also plans to hold additional outreach and community conversations next spring and summer.

Planned curb management improvements include consolidating loading zones and implementing more passenger loading zones that will be in effect after 6 p.m., the SFMTA said. The project team currently plans to share curb management proposals with the community later this fall.
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