Valencia Bikeway Improvements - December 2023 Project Update
Since the Valencia center-running bikeway pilot launched on August 1, we’ve been getting questions and suggestions from people who live, work and travel on Valencia. Your feedback is a critical part of the evaluation process, and we have been making changes in response to what we’ve heard.
We have heard from some Valencia Street businesses that the addition of new loading zones has made it challenging for their customers to find parking. We take those concerns very seriously and acted quickly to create more parking. Right before the Thanksgiving holiday, we converted about seven loading zone spaces per block back to general parking after noon or 6 p.m. Specifically:
- We turned 34% of the commercial loading and 5-minute pickup zones that we recently installed into general parking after 12 noon.
- We turned 82% of the commercial loading and 5-minute pickup zones into general parking after 6 p.m. Previously they ended at 10 p.m.
- We converted 34% of the 6-wheel commercial loading spaces into regular commercial loading spaces.
Now we’re getting the word out to make sure business customers, residents and visitors know about this additional parking, as well as the two parking garages we operate in the neighborhood. The Mission-Bartlett garage just a half block from Valencia on 21st Street has more than 200 spaces, is almost never full and is generally cheaper than most of the street parking on Valencia.
Next steps for the bikeway pilot
The center-running bikeway is a pilot, and pilots are meant to be evaluated and adjusted, adopted or redone based on what we learn when they’re implemented. What’s crucial is that whatever changes are made to the design of Valencia Street make the street safe.
Most of Valencia is on the city's High Injury Network—the 12% of streets that account for 68% of the city's fatal and severe traffic collisions. Before the bikeway pilot, Valencia Street between 15th and 23rd streets had an average of two collisions per month, and, more than half the time, a pedestrian or person riding a bike was involved.
In November, at the three-month milestone of the pilot project, we collected an extensive amount of data on the corridor. We are now analyzing this data to determine the safety and effectiveness of the center-running bikeway and plan to present this information to our Board of Directors in early 2024. At the same time, we are exploring an alternative design that would relocate the bikeway to the side of the street, between the sidewalk and parked cars. We didn’t go with that design for the pilot because it would have required the removal of the Shared Spaces parklets and more than half of the curbside parking and loading on Valencia Street, and merchants on the corridor asked us to find an alternative. But we realize people’s opinions may have changed four months into the pilot, so we’re exploring this alternative as quickly as possible so we can return to the community with some options.
Beyond the pilot
Two studies are also underway to help inform a future design for Valencia. The first is focused on traffic and circulation to assess the impacts of various design concepts. The second is a public realm/public space study to consider how we can ensure Valencia isn’t just a safe and convenient street to travel on, but a great place to visit and spend time outside. A third study is currently being developed to look at the parking and loading impacts of the design concepts assessed in the traffic and circulation study. We will notify you of the opportunities for public input for these studies
There are no easy decisions when it comes to Valencia Street. But we are thankful to the many community members who have put their time and creative thinking towards coming together and discussing what’s best for the economic vitality of the neighborhood, for safety, and for the people who live and work on Valencia Street, as well as those who visit.
We’re out on Valencia Street talking with people, and we invite you to send your feedback to Valencia@SFMTA.com. By continuing to listen and adjust, we can make sure Valencia succeeds as a place for people to be, to enjoy and to move.