Extremely Sexy, Extremely Short Raised Bikeway Coming to Part of Our Part of Valencia Street


As we all know, infrastructure is sexy.

Not the building and construction part… that’s a big honking mess. But when it’s done, infrastructure represents an investment in our collective future, which is why Bernalwood is always glad to learn about new infrastructure projects coming to our humble corner of the citysphere. Extra credit when the new infrastructure is the first of its kind.

Recently, the City unveiled a plan to build some particularly sexy new infrastructure along the La Lengua stretch of Valencia Street, between Mission and Cesar Chavez, alongside St. Luke’s Hospital. Its all part of that proposal to improve the sewer system and streetscape for that segment of Valenica, which we told you about a year ago. Well, now the design has solidified, and it includes a plan to create a Scandinavian-style raised pathway for bicycles that will be insanely cool and the first of it’s kind in San Francisco. But oddly, this completely cool new raised bikeway will only extend along part of the La Lengua stretch of Valencia Street, between Duncan and Cesar Chavez — which isn’t very big in the first place.

In other words… for one block

Let’s visualize the proposed elevated bikeway site, using the futuristic Google Earth Pro map tool thingy that Neighbor Vanessa generously provided to Bernalwood. Shall we?


As you can see… Infrastructure! Sexy! First of its kind! The best bikeway in all of San Francisco! But just not very much of it. Hmm.

Here’s what the San Francisco Bike Coalition said about the project:

San Francisco is set to get its first raised bikeway next year! The showcase bikeway is part of the Mission/Valencia Gateway project and will stretch southbound on Valencia Street from Cesar Chavez Street to Duncan Street. This one-block bikeway heralds a completely new type of bicycle infrastructure to our city, one that will become more common in the next few years, as raised bikeways are integrated into the Masonic Avenue and 2nd Street projects.

Raised bikeways are common in great bicycling cities like Copenhagen, but relatively new in the United States. Raised bikeways create a protected bikeway without bollards or barriers, instead building the bikeway at an intermediate level between the sidewalk and roadway.Learn more about raised bikeways and see designs here. 

The raised bikeway is an unexpected but very welcome enhancement to the Mission Valencia Green Gateway project, which wrapped up public outreach last year after three community open houses as well as feedback from hundreds of neighbors and SF Bicycle Coalition members. In addition to the raised bikeway, the final project design also includes wider sidewalks, permeable pavement and two new plazas, one at Mission and Valencia and a smaller one at Duncan and Valencia.

So when this sexy new bikeway is completed sometime in mid-2016, it may herald the beginning of a much larger elevated bikeway network that could extend… all the way across Cesar Chavez! Someday! Or maybe it will even extend all the way to the fabled Southern Crossing. Someday!

In the meantime, come mid-2016, if you want to make the new bikeway feel more substantial, you can simply ride back and forth along it a few times, very slowly. Go back and forth six times, and you’ll cover about a mile. Do that while listening to ABBA on your headphones, and you may even begin to feel like you’re in Scandinavia. So sexy!!!

IMAGE: Elevated bikeway rendering via NACTO

13 thoughts on “Extremely Sexy, Extremely Short Raised Bikeway Coming to Part of Our Part of Valencia Street

  1. Will parking be eliminated on this block? The graphic shows cars on the left, but are they parked or moving? In Golden Gate Park there is a short area of cars parked away from the curb, as this seems to show, but it’s an awful failure, creating much confusion, bordering on being dangerous. I live very close to the south end of Valencia, and for years worked near the other end, so biking to work was easy for me. But this “Extremely Sexy, Extremely Short…” improvement seems dubious to me. Another consideration is that if it is on the west side of Valencia, how will that impact people dropping off and picking up St. Luke’s medical patients?

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  3. I bike this nearly every day and will be happy to at least have a smooth ride for that one block.

    That stretch of Valencia leads into Tiffany (SF’s only “Bicycle Boulevard”) which leads to the bike lanes on San Jose connecting all of the Excelsior, Glen Park, and those of us in the Holly Park section of Bernalwood (“Hollywood,” if you will) to the rest of the city. The pavement along this vital corridor (the southern equivalent of the Wiggle) is atrocious and dangerous.

    There are canyons and ravines inside a bike lane that runs down a steep hill next to heavy traffic past the Safeway parking lot ambush zone (I assume the geography is caused by the collision of the Bernal and Noe Valley tectonic plates). The other option for getting down the hill would be to bike on Mission Street, which apparently still hasn’t been repaired since being shelled by La Lenguan separatists.

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  5. Currently there is a White Loading Zone in front of St Lukes on Valencia. Will this be obliterated by the raised bike lane?

    • In renderings, the rebuilt St. Luke’s will be Cesar Chavez-facing. I don’t expect this bike lane will impact patients.

  6. In general, this is really really stupid.

    In that particular block, it may not be so bad. But since the “bike lane” is more often than not the “double parking lane”, the results will be abysmal if this redesign expands. Like on the rest of Valencia. Great, so now I have to dodge double-parkers, confused out-of-town Uber and Lyft drivers (which really seems to be the majority of those drivers), right-turners, and then those people that simply drive in the bike lane for a whole block — I now get to dodge all this nonsense up and down a little slope. That’s gonna be quite ugly, especially in the rain. Surely it will rain again…someday!

    Maybe it’s just me, but Valencia was a lot more manageable 15-20 years ago back when it was a simple 2 lanes in each direction before a single dollar was spent on improving it.

  7. Awesome, one block of good bike lane is better than none.

    @Waldo, the solution is to have a permanently CAR-FREE VALENCIA. Voilá, no double-parkers. Check it out on Sunday Streets, it’s the coolest thing ever.

    • Nope. Too many businesses which have multiple deliveries every day, plus many people drive to and from other parts of SF on Valencia. It’s a major traffic artery for pedestrians, bikes, trucks, cars. Most of us use public transit sometimes, use our bikes sometimes, drive sometimes. Big mistake to try to force the issue of single usage.

    • Yes, Sunday streets is great. Car-free streets would also be great. A bike lane with an off-camber slope that you have to go up and down every 40 feet is not great.

      Lemme know when there’s a real bike lane with bollards and no car access to it. That will be a “good bike lane”. They have these in europe too.

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