After nearly a year of controversy, the SFMTA has decided to flip-flop the Valencia Street bike lane back to the old curbside design, but the new curbside bike lanes won’t be completed until January 2025 at the earliest.

The unconventional and perhaps confusing Valencia Street center bike lane arrived last August, and in its ten months, the only center-running bike lane in town has been blamed for a number of traffic collisions. The center-lane design has its supporters, but storefronts all along the Valencia Corridor have placed signs in their windows declaring “This bike lane is killing small businesses and our vibrant community.”

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist

The SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has been hinting for months that they might redesign the redesign again, and announced last week they were considering moving the bike lanes back to the curbsides. And that’s exactly what they did Tuesday, as Mission Local reports the SFMTA board voted to relocate the Valencia Street bike lanes back to the curbside.

The corridor’s main small business owners’ association was happy with the decision. “The Board of the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association (VCMA) is pleased that the SFMTA has finally voted to remove the center bike lane on Valencia Street,” that association said in a release just after the vote. “This decision comes after months of meetings and requests from the VCMA to find an alternative solution.”

The organized bicycle community seems cautiously optimistic as well, as the SF Bicycle Coalition has emphasized their support for moving the bike lanes back to the curbside designs on both sides of the street.

"I think in general they are great,” bicycle safety advocate Luke Bornheimer told NBC Bay Area. “Curbside bikeways are better for business, they're better for people biking and they're better for safety and the planet.”

Image: Google Street View 

But are the jilted-feeling businesses going to go for the new design? The new design has not even been formulated yet. It is likely to resemble what is seen above at Valencia and 14th Streets, with parked cars between the bike lane and the sidewalk (the center-running bike lane only runs from 15th to 23rd streets). And there is likely to be even less street parking available, which the business owners have already grumbled about. Mission Local notes that a new design may have “an anticipated 41 percent reduction of parking and loading spaces.”

“Our job through the summer is to try to squeeze everything out of every inch along the corridor,” SFMTA project manager Paul Stanis said at Tuesday’s meeting, per Mission Local.

And there will be many meetings, and multiple new designs considered over the months to come. As NBC Bay Area notes, the earliest the new curbside bike lanes would be completed is “in January 2025.”

Related: SFMTA Claims New Valencia Bike Lane Is Safer, But They Might Bow to Pressure and Redesign It Anyway [SFist]

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist