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Streets at a Glance

SF’s First Raised, Parking-Protected Bike Lane is Here

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A person bikes on Valencia Street in a bike lane placed between a lane of parked cars and a sidewalk curb, with parking meters featuring instructional flyers.

San Francisco’s first raised, parking-protected bike lane, which we wrote about in October, was completed this week on a short stretch of northbound Valencia Street, south of Cesar Chavez Street.

This street design flips around the conventional setup of car parking and bike lanes most San Franciscans are used to. Instead of the bike lane being placed between parked cars and the traffic lane, the bike lane runs curbside between the sidewalk and parked cars, with space to load in between. And in this case, the bike lane is physically raised slightly from the roadway by a small curb.

Since Monday morning, we’ve seen all cars parked in line with the new arrangement, and we’ve heard strongly positive responses from people on the street. That’s no surprise, since this configuration helps organize the street into a more predictable pattern for people walking, biking and driving.

A person bikes in a bike lane on Valencia Street between a lane of parked cars and a sidewalk curb.

Introducing this type of novel design typically brings some period of adjustment, which took place over the weekend before the work was completed. Drivers continued to park the old-fashioned way (in what is now the bike lane), but we’ve since posted flyers and sent ambassadors out to help explain the arrangement and make sure the proper behavior sticks.

This is just a start for a new generation of bikeways designed to be comfortable enough for anyone to use, whether you’re eight years old or 80. And based on what we’ve learned about different bikeway designs, we expect raised, parking-protected bike lanes like these to succeed with minimal reliance on limited parking enforcement resources.