Add Valencia Street merchants to the chorus of people complaining about Valencia Street’s new center bike lane, as shops say it’s drastically cut their revenue, and some transit advocates howl that it’s unsafe and counterintuitive.
The image below, posted to Reddit last week, gives you sense of how well things are going with the new Valencia Street center bike lanes that were installed in August. Yes, that is a meter maid vehicle in the bike lane, one example of the confusion this arrangement causes. And as we’ve noted in the past, some cyclists are calling the new center-lane design the “Valencia meatgrinder” for the hazards they say it poses for bicyclists.
Anyone else experience SMFTA meter maids driving aggressively in Valencia middle bike lane?
Now add Valencia Street businesses to the list of parties who absolutely hate the new center lane. A KGO report on the continuing frustration with the new Valencia bike lane notes that 70 parking spaces were sacrificed for the new arrangement, and shopkeepers say that’s ruining their business.
"I get a lot of calls every day right before the shift starts. Sorry, we cannot make it. We've been looking for parking for half an hour. 45 minutes. We have to cancel," Gola restaurant owner Rafik Bouzidi told the station. “We cannot get out deliveries on time. I cannot park my car to unload my groceries in front. I get a ticket,"
This week’s SFMTA board meeting revisited the topic of the bike lane they controversially approved in April. But they’re not the only ones taking flak, as the district’s supervisor Hillary Ronen apparently also gets bombarded with complaints over the design.
"If they made it a one way street maybe we can have a place for people to double park,” she said in a KGO interview. “We can have bike lanes that are on the side of the streets and we could engineer things so both sides can be happier."
The SFMTA Citizen Advisory Committee said in a statement at that board meeting that it “recommends abandoning the unintuitive and dangerous center running bicycle lane pilot on Valencia and refocusing the street towards its corridor needs."
For their part, SFMTA had their own statement for KGO, saying that “SFMTA also understands that implementation of the center bike lane has resulted in many changes to parking availability, and to how businesses receive deliveries. SFMTA continues to monitor the parking and loading needs along the corridor and meet with stakeholders including the merchant community.”
The Valencia Street center bike lane was approved as a year-long pilot program. And it was also a “quick build” project, which means it can be undone quickly, too. That may be where this is going, but SFMTA is still taking feedback.
You can let SFMTA know your opinion on the center bike lanes by sending an email to the email addresses at the bottom of this page.
Image: Eastfalia via Reddit