Assist Construct a Higher Valencia Road – Streetsblog San Francisco

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Click here to join the fight for protected Dutch-style cycle lanes in Valencia Here. Download your own flyers Here.

In less than two weeks, over 600 people have already written to the mayor, the SFMTA board and others, urging the city to halt its push to build cycle lanes in central Valencia. They strongly support the Better Valencia Plan, a push by advocates to demand that the city deliver on its 2020 promise to extend the successful Dutch-style sheltered cycle lane (from the Markt to the 15th) to the rest of the street .

This is entirely consistent with the city’s own outreach, conducted in 2022, which showed that only 13 percent, or 80 people, supported the center-led design over a three-month city-led outreach period that also included about 600 respondents arrived. The SFMTA board is scheduled to vote on the plan on April 4.

“Valencia dealers I’ve spoken to also support Better Valencia’s plan for protected roadside bike lanes,” said Luke Bornheimer, a “slow streets” mayor and one of the advocates who campaigned for a car-free JFK at the forefront Valencia for protected cycle paths based on the Dutch model. “They understand that not only would it be better for safety and the climate, it would also be better for business.”

As Streetsblog readers are likely to know, in 2018 SFMTA included a “Center Running” design as an option for the Valencia street (see configuration below). This design, a failed concept adopted by some surviving examples around the world, violates security best practices. Running in the center is almost unknown in the Netherlands, Denmark or anywhere else with a really successful and ubiquitous cycling infrastructure. The only thing that makes it good is preserving roadside access for motorists. It was almost universally rejected in 2018 during city public relations. In 2020, SFMTA completed designs to extend the successful Dutch-style sheltered cycle lanes (from Market to 15th and from Duncan to Cesar Chavez) to more of Valencia and to add sheltered crossings. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition strongly supported this plan, but later changed their view (under new leadership).

A look at the center-running, unprotected bike lane city officials plan to build to wedge cyclists between moving cars and trucks with no physical protection other than plastic posts specially constructed to allow motorists to drive directly over them. Image: SFMTA

Some proponents have argued that a bike lane running down the middle is the way to make the street pedestrianized. Of course, one does not follow from the other. Even Tom Maguire, deputy head of SFMTA, conceded in a recent email to Bornheimer: “The park sheltered design you advocated last week wouldn’t necessarily preclude a placemaking pilot, but it would severely limit options that could be explored.”

A reminder that the design that Bornheimer “began to advocate for last week” was the plan that SFMTA drafted and presented to the public in 2020, before the mayor ordered SFMTA not to touch the parklets or that Disturbing car loading, Vision Zero and safety be damned.

Seen in Valencia on Saturday.  The same city officials who want to be trusted by proponents to want a central walking lane at some future, unspecified date to ease pedestrian traffic have cleared a fallen tree and trimmed the lumber neatly at a bike-sharing station and on the existing cycle path stored.  Photo: Streetsblog/RudickSeen in Valencia on Saturday. The same city officials who want proponents to trust they want a central walking lane at some future, unspecified date to ease pedestrian traffic have removed a fallen tree from Valencia’s lanes and neatly placed the timber on a bike-sharing Station and stored on top of the existing bike lane, putting cyclists’ lives at risk – further proof that this city’s officials always put rider’s comfort ahead of cyclist’s safety. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

To simplify Maguire’s statements, the Running vs. Parking Protected center has nothing to do with placemaking, which all advocates of safe and livable roads support. The other argument for center running is that it’s “better than nothing.” In fact, there are indications that the road will be more dangerous than it is now when bike lanes running down the middle are added (see tweet and links below).

I was surprised to find out that the DC Bike Path Assessment Report was co-authored by a planner who is now SFMTA Liveable Roads Director!

What it says about safety is discouraging: collisions increased, even accounting for the increased number of cyclists

— (@zachlipton) September 21, 2022

To paraphrase Copenhagenize, figuring out how to build safe cycling infrastructure has been a decades-long struggle riddled with failed experiments and tragedy — but the Dutch and Danes have a 100-year lead over the US SFMTA, which is literally talking about it to repeat the same experiments with people life and limb at stake. As Copenhagenize put it, “If you wouldn’t put pedestrians in a middle lane between moving traffic, why the hell would you put cyclists there!”

Register for join the fight for protected cycle paths based on the Dutch model in Valencia. Download flyers Here.

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