When the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which runs Muni, instituted the sweeping December 5th service changes and eliminated several bus routes, including the 26-Valencia, bicycle advocates immediately raised the question of what would be done with the now abandoned bus stop spaces. Would they be turned over to cars as free parking, would the SFMTA add new meters, or would the agency perhaps consider the space as a testing ground for innovative on-street bicycle parking, what Portlanders know and love as "Bike Corrals"?
At an SFMTA engineering hearing today, the agency approved converting some of those former bus stops to be on-street bicycle parking on Valencia Street, the city’s most vibrant bicycle-friendly commercial strip. The five locations where on-street bicycle parking spaces were approved are in front of various businesses that appeal to a variety of customers, from a popular bicycle bar, to an upscale Indian Restaurant, to one of the most popular brunch spots in The Mission.
Each on-street bicycle parking space will have between three and six racks, which will allow between six and twelve bicycles to be parked comfortably. The racks will be placed at 45 degree angles in the direction of traffic and will be screwed into the concrete from the former bus zones, which helps with security. The on-street spaces will be flanked on either side with two-foot red zones and soft-hit posts, like those on the newly protected Market Street bike lanes, will be placed 7 feet from the curb, between the bike lanes and the racks, and at either end in the red zones.
"With so many people shopping by bike in San Francisco, especially on
Valencia Street, this use of pavement is a smart investment," said Marc Caswell of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "By
keeping the bikes on the street, we help to preserve the pedestrian
space for people on foot and in wheelchairs."
Because the new bike parking is in old bus zones, no car parking will be removed and the initiative will not violate the long-standing anti-bike injunction. The city will add 23 racks on Valencia, which will result in 46 new bicycle parking spaces, and will add another on-street bicycle parking facility in front of Rainbow Grocery on Folsom Street. In most cases, the city will also be adding commercial delivery zones near the on-street bicycle parking spaces.
"A lot of these will increase extra loading for commercial
businesses," said Caswell, which is "important for local businesses.
They will be able to accommodate all the bike customers and they will
have more loading area to bring in the extra merchandise that will be flying off the shelves for those bike customers."
On Valencia Street, the on-street bicycle parking locations will be the following:
- Zeitgeist – near Duboce, 3 racks
- Freewheel/Retrofit – near 20th Street, 6 racks
- Dosa/Valencia Whole Foods – near 21st Street, 4 racks
- Boogaloos – near 22nd Street, 6 racks
- Valencia Farmer’s Market – near 24th Street, 4 racks
The SFBC isn’t fond of the name "Bike Corrals" that have stuck in Portland, but hasn’t yet figured out a better replacement. Please put give your suggestions in the comments.
McAllister Personal Vehicle Prohibition and Fell St. Arco
At the same hearing, SFMTA engineers recommended approving converting McAllister Street between Hyde and Market from one-way to two-way, but only for transit, deliveries and bicycles. Personal vehicles will not be allowed on those two-and-a-half blocks.
"It’s a positive for bikes to be able to get to Market quicker and it will speed up the 5," said Caswell.
Finally, a temporary solution has been devised for the Fell Street Arco gas station, where SFMTA engineers hope to resolve the vehicle queuing problem that leads to conflicts with the bike lane there. As we’ve reported, the city will eventually paint the bike lane green at this location, but not before testing engineering options to deal with the queuing.
Traffic engineers decided to convert the two parking spaces closest to the station from residential parking to a 24-hour tow-away zone. The next four spaces to the east will be 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. tow away, reverting to residential parking at overnight. The SFMTA will observe the changes and collect data before making further determinations about the contentious location.
"It’s a healthy compromise that addresses the concerns of the neighbors while maintaining safety for bikes," said Caswell. "If it doesn’t address the concerns fully, then we will continue our advocacy to make this corridor safe for all road users."