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“They Are Absolutely Waiting for Someone to Die” on Valencia

The Valencia loading zone/bike lane. SFMTA is apparently waiting for another cyclist to die before they will finish this project. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

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A woman riding her bike on Valencia was doored by a motorist Tuesday evening at the intersection with Sycamore, near 17th. This, of course, is part of the majority of the street that still has no protected bike lane.

Streetsblog has requests into SFMTA and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to find out more about this crash and will update accordingly. Paul Valdez, advocate and SFBC activist who tweeted about the crash, emailed Streetsblog directly to add that "we heard a thump seeing the girl being thrown off her bike and falling really hard with her bike. She seemed to be ok, but had some injury to her right arm/hand."

"I rode past on the way to dinner," wrote Matt Brezina, one of the organizers of the People Protected Bike lane protests who is credited with getting protected bike lanes on part of Valencia, and many other streets. "This is the exact same block (opposite side of the street) from where Vanessa was hit one week ago."

"As a reminder, SFMTA has NO PLAN OR TIMELINE for protected lanes on this section of Valencia, our city's second busiest bike route," he added.

"This incident underscores the urgency of installing safety improvements. We understand that MTA is moving forward with protected bikeways from 19th to Cesar Chavez early this coming year, and we are pushing them to figure out a workable solution to the area between 15th and 19th Streets as quickly as possible," wrote Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, whose district encompasses much of Valencia, in an email to Streetsblog. "Safety has to come first."

Advocates on social media, meanwhile, shared Brezina's frustration:

Streetsblog readers will recall that the the city left Howard Street in this situation--with a half-completed protected bike lane--until cyclist Tess Rothstein was killed in a dooring incident right across the street from where the protected bike lane began. After her death, the city extended the bike lane between 4th and 6th; still not all the way to the Embarcadero, we might add.

It's been some ten months since SFMTA installed protected bike lanes on Valencia from Market to 15. There's been no progress since then, despite the overall success of the "pilot." There's also a short stretch of protected bike lane on the southern tip of Valencia, from Duncan to Cesar Chavez, but that was completed over two years ago.

"There are over sixty reported collisions on Valencia every year," tweeted the People Protected Bike lane group. "Dooring is the #1 crash type. Protected bike lanes stop doorings and make our streets safer for all road users. Valencia Street needs protected bike lanes NOW!"

Meanwhile, Streetsblog will continue to plea with SFMTA to stop with the dangerous mixing zones and other substandard intersection treatments. Protected bike lanes also need protected intersections at all major cross streets. And even smaller streets need something more than silly straws/safe-hit posts to maintain sight-lines--or we get situations as pictured below, taken this morning, of the red truck parked on top of safe-hit posts, completely blocking the view of the intersection at Valencia and Clinton Park:

This truck was parked on top of SFMTA's safe-hit posts, demarcating the "daylighting" at the intersection with Clinton Hill. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
It's hard to see, but there are crushed safe-hit posts under this truck, which was parked all morning in the "daylighting" space at Clinton Park. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
A truck parked on top of SFMTA's safe-hit posts, demarcating the "daylighting" at the intersection of Valencia and Clinton Hill in 2019 on the curbside lane between Market and 15th. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

The irony: this is the same street where, up the block, the city just removed boulders that residents put in to prevent homeless encampments. Those boulders could have been used for something positive and gone right here to keep people from parking on this spot.

Note: Friday, Oct. 4, advocates are holding a 'Day of Action' to document blocked bike lanes. To participate/find out more, click here.

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