San Francisco

Improvements on Valencia Street in San Francisco Lead to Drop in Bike-Car Interactions

Safety conditions along Valencia Street in San Francisco's Mission District have improved ever since the city finished the Valencia Street Pilot Safety Project earlier this year, city officials announced Friday.

The project, which added fully parking-protected bicycle lanes along Valencia Street from Market to 15th streets, was completed in January 2019.

The latest findings, released by Mayor London Breed and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, revealed that the new lanes nearly eliminated illegal vehicle loading in the bike lanes, dropping from 159 observed instances in October 2018 to only two in May 2019.

Additionally, interactions between cars and bikes in mid-block locations dropped by 95 percent, while drivers were seen yielding to bicyclists 84 percent of the time at mixing zones or areas where bikes and cars share the lane.

Before the project's completion, that area of Valencia Street had the highest injury rate for bicyclists, according to the office of Mayor London Breed.

"Valencia Street was one of the most dangerous corridors in our city before this project, which is why I pushed to have these safety improvements expedited," Breed said in a statement.

"The data now backs up what we knew to be true -- common sense safety improvements dramatically reduce the risk of collisions and save lives," Breed said. "Our new quick-build policy will allow us to take action like this on streets that we know are dangerous, and then let the data inform how we improve those streets in the future."

According to the SFMTA, the Valencia Street project was completed well ahead of schedule. The next step to complete improvements on Valencia Street south of 19th Street, anticipated to be finished by Spring 2020.

"We're thrilled by the results on Valencia Street and know this is just the tip of the iceberg. We need to keep charging ahead to make the urgent changes to reach our goal of Vision Zero," said Muni's new Director of Transportation, Tom Maguire.

"These numbers are further proof that infrastructure like protected bike lanes dramatically improves safety on our street," said Brian Wiedenmeier, the San Francisco Bike Coalition's executive director. "Now is the time to get to work fixing the rest of Valencia Street and other known high injury corridors across San Francisco."

This year alone, more than a dozen bicyclists and pedestrians have been killed on San Francisco streets due to vehicular collisions.

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