Valencia Human-Protected Bike Lane Protest #2

A Quick Note Before the Three-Day Weekend about Last Night's Protest

Looking north during one of last year's people-protected bike lane protests on Valencia, between 16th and 17th. Photo by Brandon Splane
Looking north during one of last year's people-protected bike lane protests on Valencia, between 16th and 17th. Photo by Brandon Splane

Before everyone heads out for the Memorial Day weekend, Streetsblog wanted to do a quick update on yesterday evening’s successful Valencia Street human-protected bike lane protest in the Mission District.

Readers will recall that a group of bike advocates did the first of this type of protest on Golden Gate on May 1. That one was relatively small, with about 15 advocates donning yellow t-shirts and standing on the edge of the bike lane to keep it clear of parked cars. When they followed up on Valencia two weeks ago, the number of protesters more than doubled.

And the mainstream press is taking note: yesterday, during this last protest, the San Francisco Chronicle sent a reporter down and KGO-TV’s chopper hovered overhead for about fifteen minutes (the protesters waved at the chopper, which apparently did a live TV hit that evening). Gathering attention to an issue is what protests are ultimately about.

And last night was a new record, with some 50 people donning yellow t-shirts (the number varied throughout the evening rush hour, from 5 to 7 p.m.) and protecting the bike lane with their bodies. It was enough people that, at least during most of the evening, for the first time they were able to protect the lane on both sides of the street.

The bike lanes on both sides of Valencia, at least for one block, had human-protected bike lanes. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
The bike lanes on both sides of Valencia, at least for one block, had human-protected bike lanes. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Other than that, the protest went similarly to last time. Lots of high-fives and cheering for passing cyclists. Motorists were generally calm and supportive. There were a couple of exceptions–a cyclists cursed at the protesters (perhaps it was the same guy from last time) and a cab driver, apparently oblivious to the irony, yelled out his car window that cyclists should ride on some other street.

“I’m stoked on the turnout and that by the end we had covered both sides of the block!  Lots of energy,” wrote Matt Brezina, one of the organizers of the protest, in an email today to Streetsbog.

The protest is working. The word is getting out. And more passersby stopped to ask: “What do you want? What is this protest about?”

“Parking-protected bike lanes so our streets are safe for all users!” was the response. And if they asked “what’s that?” protesters explained or sent them to the southern end of Valencia to look at SFMTA’s short pilot/demonstration project.

Now we’ll see, moving forward, if our city leaders take notice of all the support for extending that pilot north–not to mention on all busy streets in the city.

Have a safe Memorial Day weekend. Streetsblog will be back on Tuesday.

Photo: Brandon Splane
Photo: Brandon Splane
  • Chris

    Why do you say Valencia is the one north-south bike corridor through the Mission District? Oldest, yes; and probably the the busiest. But last I checked Folsom, Harrison, and Potrero also have painted bike lanes.

  • Richard Mlynarik

    Wow! I just can’t wait to be right-hooked by turning cars at every intersection of “parking protected” Valencia (“protected” from what exactly? Assuredly not morons getting in and out of, or driving fucking Ubers) all the way from Market to Chavez, as well as the bonus of being doored (from the left! a double whammy!) or walked into by drunk idiots the entire way. Just like how awesome JFK is in GGP, only with 50 times the motorist and pedestrian conflicts, and along a route I use daily or more.

    Here’s to all bike routes resembling miniature golf courses as much as possible in their circuitousness, pointlessness, and “protectedness”! This is going to be great! Just like America is great again!

  • Roger R.

    Good point. That sentence didn’t make sense. I took it out.

  • gneiss

    I think we now know who was cursing at the safety advocates.

  • gneiss

    Thank you for this reporting, and thank you to the safety advocates who are putting their bodies out there to show the absurdity of the current bike lane design. It should be quite apparent to our city leadership that the introduction of some 45,000 Uber and Lyft drivers on our streets (compared with 1,800 taxis) has had significant adverse impacts, particularly in regards to the rampant double parking on many of our streets. SFMTA should realize that they simply cannot present *any* design that puts a bike lane next to the active lane of traffic without safe hit posts or parked cars, as this just provides a sanctioned place for hire car drivers and delivery trucks to block it.

    I’d also like to point out that on Friday on Market Street I witnessed a fire truck in the bike lane adjacent to the Twitter Building. Having the lane right next to the building meant it was able to drive adjacent to the curb and nowhere near the overhead MUNI wires. This furthers my impression that the SFMTA made the right call by deciding to build protected lanes on upper market rather than listening to SFFD “concerns”.

  • Stuart

    Wow! I just can’t wait to be right-hooked by turning cars at every intersection

    You are aware that increasing the angle at which cars intersect the paths of cyclists and pedestrians gets them out of drivers’ blind spots, makes them more visible, and thus decreases right hooks, right? That’s part of why protected intersections and bulb-outs are safer.

    “protected” from what exactly? Assuredly not morons getting in and out of, or driving fucking Ubers

    You don’t want a physical barrier preventing TNC drivers from using the bike lane as a loading zone? Personally, I’d love to not have to go around multiple cars per block every day in that stretch of Valencia.

    as well as the bonus of being doored

    What makes you think a redesign to make the bike lane protected wouldn’t include a buffer zone?

    walked into by drunk idiots the entire way.

    I haven’t seen nearly as many drunk idiots walking on Valencia as clueless and/or districted drivers cutting into the bike lane without warning. And they are much less likely to kill me.

    The reality is the at busy times of day, vehicular cycling is forced on everyone trying to use Valencia due to all the cars illegally stopped in the bike lane. If you don’t have a problem with that, then there are other streets you can continue to use for vehicular cycling. Meanwhile, people who want bike infrastructure that has been shown to be safer and encourage more biking would have one corridor available to them.

  • HappyHighwayman

    You know it’s funny nobody would buy a car withotu a working horn, but the moment you as a cyclist employ a 140 db horn to honk people stopped in the bike lane you’re the asshole

  • Jimbo

    dont these losers have anything better to do ?

  • Jimbo

    everyone gets to get stuck behind the worlds slowest cyclist as well.

  • No_Diggity

    I’m always a little surprised that so many cyclists think that Market St and Valencia are good choices.


A bike commuter high-fives an advocate for protecting him on the southbound Valencia bike lane during a May protest. Streetsblog/Rudick

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