Safety can’t wait on Valencia Street.
That was the message we made clear at the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board meeting this afternoon, backed by 40 speakers and following nearly 500 submitted letters of support. Our urgent calls for change made a difference, as the SFMTA Board unanimously approved protected bike lanes on Valencia between Market and 15th streets.
Powerful testimony was shared over nearly two hours of public comment on this item. Our community organizer, Andy Gonzalez Cabrera, shared a story from streetside outreach where they connected with a man who bikes here every day but was injured after being doored. Speaking in only Spanish, he told Andy how he struggled to communicate with the driver because of language differences. When others stopped to see if he needed to go to the hospital, he refused because he didn’t have health insurance and didn’t want the police to show up.
A wide range of people spoke, including a sixth-grader from Friends School, parents who bike with their children on Valencia, and many people who have been hit by drivers while biking along this corridor.
At the end of the day, these are the people who are impacted when the City delays action for street safety, and that’s why we mobilized and showed up in numbers to make this protected bike lane a reality.
This victory was made possible because of our members who turned out time after time, from open houses to community outreach to committee meetings. Our campaign took a big leap forward in September, thanks to leadership from Mayor Breed, who directed SFMTA to implement a near-term protected bike lane on Valencia Street within four months.
Bolstered by additional outreach led by the SFMTA, we are proud that today’s approval will help meet that deadline to bring safety improvements along these few blocks early next year. Support from Supervisors Hillary Ronen and Rafael Mandelman were critical to getting us here, and we will continue to look to our elected leaders to push the City to do more and to do it quickly.
We know the work doesn’t end here. Our vision for Valencia Street is a corridor-wide transformation with a street design that keeps Uber and Lyft drivers out of the bike lane. As one of the busiest bike routes in the city with a bustling nightlife and a long history of community engagement, join our people-powered campaign to bring this long-term vision to life.