Time to Fix Valencia

The experience of biking Valencia has changed dramatically since 1999, when bike lanes were first striped there. Those bike lanes, however, haven’t kept up with changing times.

How many of us can even remember biking Valencia without weaving around Ubers, Lyfts and delivery vehicles illegally parked in the bike lanes? Valencia’s bike lanes are overdue for improvements that change how everyone navigates this important corridor. And now protected bike lanes may be on the horizon for Valencia, thanks to the strong support of Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, but we need every person in support to band together and speak up. Will you join us?

It’s Time

In 1994 we celebrated the approval of bike lanes on Valencia — the first major thoroughfare to add bike lanes in the city. At the time, this was a major win for the bicycling community in San Francisco. Dave Snyder, then the SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director, predicted in the Tube Times that we were “in this for the long haul; and fortunately, making streets safer for bicycle traffic will make them safer for everyone.” Dave was right. Over 20 years later we are ready to take the next step towards transforming Valencia Street into the optimal north-south bike route that San Francisco deserves.

Winning bike lanes on Valencia was not only groundbreaking; it was a monumental task led by SF Bicycle Coalition Membership Director Mary Brown. Her organizing overcame the objections of the San Francisco Traffic and Parking Director, who declared that bike lanes would only be striped on Valencia “over my dead body.” It took five years after they were approved, but in 1999, those lanes were striped.

SF Bicycle Coalition staffer Mary Brown, in the green jacket, watches as the bike lanes she organized for are striped on Valencia in 1999.

The paint that constituted such a substantial victory in the ‘90s is no longer sufficient, however. The proliferation of Uber, Lyft and delivery companies has transformed Valencia into an obstacle course. It’s past time to add protected bike lanes so that this important north-south corridor offers a world-class biking experience.

The chance to see protected bike lanes on Valencia lies before us, including near-term improvements as soon as next year. Join our people-powered movement to advocate for protected bike lanes on the entire length of Valencia street.

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