Push Continues to Fix Valencia
Advocates Protest Again and Demand SFMTA Take Immediate Action
Yesterday evening, some thirty bicycle advocates in yellow t-shirts again cordoned off a section of Valencia Street’s Uber drop-off zone (also known as the bike lane) in the Mission, between 18th and 19th.
The protest was very similar to past efforts, which you can read about here and here. As with the past two protests, there was one cyclist who cursed at everyone and yelled at them to go home (if anyone knows this guy, please urge him to either calm down or get back on his medications) but other than that it was all high fives and emphatic ‘thank yous’.
One big difference: Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, whose district encompasses the west side of the street, joined the protest this time.
“I did talk to MTA,” he told Streetsblog. According to Sheehy, there are concerns about adding a parking-protected bike lane north of 17th because there are overhead trolley-bus wires and the need to leave clearances for the buses to make turns. He added, however, that SFMTA seemed to think it could extend protected bike lanes from Cesar Chavez (there’s currently a short protected bike lane that runs south of Chavez) all the way to 17th. Matt Brezina, one of the organizers of this protest, said he had talked to businesses up and down the corridor and was not aware of any of the resistance merchants often express about adding parking-protected bike lanes.
In other words, there’s really nothing standing in the way of making this happen, at least from Chavez to 17th.
And yet, it’s not happening.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Hillary Ronen, whose district includes the other side of Valencia, did not show up to the protest, although word has it she also supports protected bike lanes on the street. Streetsblog contacted her office earlier this week about protected bike lanes and Sunday’s collision on Valencia, and has yet to hear back.
Streetsblog readers, especially those who live in her district, should reach out to Ronen’s office and ask for confirmation that she will work to support protected bike lanes on Valencia.
Also at last night’s demonstration was Brian Wiedenmeier, seen above in the striped t-shirt across from Sheehy (in yellow). Sheehy stressed that everyone needs to form a consensus about designs and insist that SFMTA put in the bike lanes. That said, it’s hard to see who isn’t on the same page about this–the demonstrators and past vigilante efforts have already knocked off a drawing of a cheap and quick fix that could be put in virtually overnight.
Streetsblog’s only quibble with this design would be to suggest pulling the parklets over and continuing the bike lane straight along the curb, to create a straighter and better protected bike lane.
Either way, it’s really hard to understand what’s holding things up. Oakland has now shown its ability to get in quick fixes that take weeks instead of months or years. Portland, Vancouver, even Wichita, Kansas have shown how fast a bike lane can go in.
Maybe SFMTA just doesn’t know where to get paint and planters and other supplies?