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

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