On April 4, 2023, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors unanimously approved the Valencia center running bike lane pilot from 15th Street to 23rd Street.
The bike community and local Mission community turned out strong during public comment. Though some of us wanted to see a different outcome, we were all on the same page about the existing conditions along Valencia being disastrous and needing improvements now.
After hours of public comment and one of the most comprehensive discussions we’ve seen between the SFMTA Board of Directors, the unprotected stretch of Valencia is finally getting improvements.
Here’s what was passed:
- A 12-month pilot with an evaluation presentation to the SFMTA Board of Directors 6 months in;
- K71 post every 20ft, with bus lane curbs in-between
- After every 90ft of materials, a 10ft gap will be included for bikes to enter and exit the bike lane
- Long-term studies for the entire Valencia corridor and a placemaking pilot
Construction officially began last week and will take six to eight weeks to complete. We knew a center-running bike lane could only work if we had robust materials in the ground like K71 posts. That is why we were so disappointed to find out through public news channels that SFMTA doesn’t have enough K71 posts for the new spacing of 20ft and will be using soft-hit posts in the place of them where we run out. We understand that the new spacing of 20ft means double the amount of K71’s than what was originally planned, and the supply chain isn’t keeping up with demand. We have communicated to SFMTA they should be proactively communicating updates to the public when things go awry and when they are unable to deliver projects in the manner or timeline laid out. We call on the SFMTA to do everything in its power, including reaching out to additional vendors, to implement the complete number of K71 posts indicated in the approved design. We also demand proactive updates from the agency about any other barriers or slowdowns, to repair trust with the biking community.
While under construction, there will be signs on every block reinforcing that bikes and other active modes of transportation are expected to share the lane with vehicles. The 12-month pilot officially starts once construction is complete.
We agree with the SFMTA Board Directors that this is not the end but the beginning of conversations on Valencia Street.