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Oblivious drivers pack SF’s first raised, ‘parking-protected’ bike lane with cars

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Cars block a protected bike lane on Valencia Street, Feb. 23 2017. (Photo courtesy @adaman797/Twitter)
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Parking drama along one short block in San Francisco exploded on Twitter over the weekend, after a number of cars were spotted in a newly completed “parking protected” bike lane that was installed on Valencia Street last October.

The saga began when twitter user @adaman797 sent out the above photo last Thursday, with the caption “No one predicted this would happen! Maybe @sfmta_muni hasn’t finished the lane yet?”

In the days that followed, other cyclists hopped on the bandwagon, sharing their own experiences of trying to bike north on Valencia and hitting a row of parked cars.

 

 

The new design was touted by the SFMTA as “San Francisco’s first raised, parking-protected bike lane.”

“This bike lane combines two main physical design features aimed at making streets safer and more comfortable for people to bike on,” stated the SFMTA in a blog post announcing the project. “They help provide a clearer sense of separation between people walking, biking or driving and organize the street into a more predictable pattern.”

But the six-foot-wide bike lane and five-foot-wide buffer area are not being used correctly—showing a disconnect between The City’s plan and the drivers’ interpretation. There are no signs posted to explain how to use the bike lane, and the parking meters appear to be causing some confusion.

In the end, the SFMTA hopes that the bike lane will self-enforce as drivers get used to it:

In the meantime, cyclists who encounter the blocked bike lane will have to enter Valencia Street to go around the new structure, a practice not uncommon for anyone who bike-commutes along the street regularly. Unless, that is, anonymous transportation advocates SFMTrA figure out a guerrilla solution:

UPDATE, 2/28 7:30 p.m.: Supervisor Ronen calls on SFMTA to improve new ‘parking-protected’ bike lane on Valencia

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