Long-awaited protected bike lanes are coming to Valencia Street this year, according to an update issued by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on Tuesday.
In a post on its website, the transit agency said it plans to renew its work installing the bike lanes—which would separate bike and car traffic with physical barriers—after its plans were derailed by the introduction of parklets to the street during the pandemic. The agency began in early 2018 developing the project and in 2020 released initial plans for protected bike lanes for the street, which is a main thoroughfare for cyclists.
But in spring 2021, the agency put the project on hold while awaiting more information about the future of the city’s Shared Spaces program, which brought parklets and new ways of using the streets to the vibrant Mission District corridor. Now that those changes look likely to stay, SFMTA says it will have to redesign its vision for bike and pedestrian improvements on Valencia—and plans to roll out those changes this year.
The agency may be able to expedite construction of the bike lanes under a current law authored by State Sen. Scott Wiener that allows certain green transportation projects to forgo the lengthy environmental review process—and which was already leveraged for protected bike lanes in the Bayview last year.
Bike advocates have long been calling for fixes to the corridor, specifically to address the hazards presented by cars that park or idle in the existing unprotected bike lanes. Just last week, one group even posted up with signs for the second time this year to help bikers and those using scooters navigate the street safely while cars blocked their lane.
The agency took to Twitter today to announce it would resume its design phase with parklets and curbside retail in mind and will further assess pedestrian improvements.
“Shared Spaces are here to stay—and we’re excited to relaunch our design process to establish Valencia Street as a safe, vibrant, multi-modal and multi-use corridor,” the agency tweeted.Sarah Wright can be reached at [email protected].