In early March, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) officially announced that it would be resuming the design and outreach process for the Valencia Street Improvement Project. This comes as welcome news to many, as the project was effectively put on hold with the onset of the pandemic in early 2020. As the project comes back online, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is working to re-engage community stakeholders and people who hold the corridor near and dear to their hearts.
Valencia is itself one of the beating hearts of the Mission. Not only is it a thriving commercial hub, but it also plays an important role as a key North/South connection that links many areas of the city to downtown and beyond. The infrastructure we currently have on Valencia Street began its process with our work in 2017. A few years later, Valencia Street from Market to 15th became a truly robust bicycle corridor, with parking protected bike lanes, pedestrian islands, and soft hit posts. In 2019, as the next phases began, the project found itself a topic of much contention as the needs of merchants and stakeholders became increasingly complex. Just as the project was moving forward, the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak put a hard stop to life as we knew it, and the improvements for Valencia Street.
With all the work that has gone into the project thus far, there are still many obstacles that people face when traveling on Valencia. Cars and trucks double parking in the bike lanes is a constant, and mixes of pedestrian, bike, delivery, and merchant use bleeds into the space. All of these needs and uses ,as well as issues with trash and other debris in the bike lane, are all hurdles that must be accounted for as well as solved through this project. Our goal is to ensure that future infrastructure provides safety for people of all comfort levels on Valencia.
While the project scope is still being developed by the SFMTA, it aims to build on the protected bike lane that currently ends at 15th street. As of now, there are a few design alternatives that are being worked on: side running bike lanes and a two-way center running bike lane. We are excited about and fully support a side running concept, as this provides a more welcoming environment for all comfort levels.
We are thrilled that Valencia is moving forward and want your input as this project develops. Stay up to date and find out how you can get involved by signing up for our email list. If you are passionate about Valencia and have any comments, questions or concerns, reach out to Malcolm Jaramillo at firstname.lastname@example.org.