The prayers of roughly 2,000 daily Valencia Street bicyclists have finally been answered.
The City began installing barriers Thursday to protect the Valencia bike lane from double-parking cars. It’s been an especially pernicious problem as Uber and Lyft vehicles often swoop into the bike lane to pick up passengers along the popular corridor, endangering cyclists.
“This is an urgent needs because people are being forced into traffic constantly on that street,” activist Matt Brezina told the San Francisco Examiner. He organized three “people-protected bike lane” protests, in which activists linked hands and stood between the bike lanes and traffic to guard cyclists from cars.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency heard those complaints and began installing safety posts along the Valencia Street bike lane between 15th and 19th streets on Thursday.
The $9,900 short-term safety project came from a collaborative political effort. Supervisor Hillary Ronen requested a study of the corridor and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy secured the funding, according to the SFMTA. Valencia Street borders the two districts the politicians represent.
It’s also not the end of the improvements, according to the SFMTA. The agency is installing the safety posts and accompanying painted safety zones as a short-term measure while it plans long-term changes to make Valencia Street safer.
“I’m hopeful the entire project will move forward quickly,” Sheehy said Thursday. “Reducing ride-share double parking in Valencia Street bike lanes is urgently needed to protect cyclists.”
Data from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority supports cyclists’ observations, as the Examiner has previously reported. On an average Dolores Street block on Fridays, about 280 ride-hail pickups and dropoffs occur.
By contrast, on just one block of Valencia Street near 16th Street, there are roughly 2,190 daily pickups and dropoffs by ride-hails like Uber and Lyft.
From 2012 to 2016, 48 percent of bike crashes on the corridor involved some type of vehicle loading or unloading activity, according to data from the SFMTA.