Valencia: Future studies and a placemaking pilot

Last Tuesday, the SF County Transportation Authority commissioners (also known as the Board of Supervisors) allocated funding from the Neighborhood Transportation Improvement Project (NTIP) to various infrastructure improvements and studies in every supervisorial district. 

In District 9, $210,000 of NTIP funds were put towards studying long-term design options for the entire Valencia Street corridor and implementing a placemaking pilot by the end of 2024. The NTIP studies will look at a two-way cycle track on one side of the corridor, pedestrianization along certain blocks, and reintroducing curbside protected bike lanes.   

As we’ve recently written, safety improvements on Valencia Street cannot wait any longer. We have hesitation about the center-running design up for approval by the SFMTA, but we firmly believe that this design as a whole — with the included double parking restrictions, left-turn restrictions, and robust delineation materials — will be safer than what we have now. Implementing this design will allow us to try something while the NTIP studies take place for more design options in the future. 

The center-running bike lane has been vetted and approved internally by all departments and is ready to be put into the ground. Any other design would stall implementation of any improvements along the corridor and would be disingenuous to the numerous conversations with merchants and community organizations that got us to this compromise. We have acutely been working for years to close the gaps on Valencia that put our city’s most vulnerable road users at risk and we are so close to finally getting physical improvements on this stretch of Valencia.

We also firmly believe that any placemaking on Valencia Street must center the voices of Mission community organizations, local residents, and merchants. We are committed to ensuring that the needs and wants of Black, Indigenous, and People Of Color (BIPOC) communities are prioritized in the efforts to create safer streets for everyone. We believe that we can create safety for people biking and work in collaboration with community organizations — and that for far too long, previous bike and safe street advocates have created racial harm by not working together. 

So, what’s that mean for our current stance on Valencia?

  • We need to see the current pilot approved asap at the SFMTA board meeting on April 4th. 
  • We firmly support the NTIP studies to come on Valencia and are grateful to see Supervisor Ronen’s office financially supporting the exploration of a better long-term design for Valencia Street.
  • Any future pilots, designs, and placemaking MUST center the voices of Mission community organizations, local residents, and merchants to meet their safety needs as well as improving safety for people biking and walking along Valencia. 

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