Despite a new lawsuit and a claim that SFMTA might move the Valencia Street bike lane back to the curbside, the agency’s board made no changes to the controversial bike lane at Tuesday’s meeting.

It’s been since August 2023 that the Valencia Street bike lane was moved to the center of the street, for the stretch of the corridor between 15th and 23rd streets. Many cyclists decried the change as unsafe, and Valencia Street shops claim it destroyed their business revenue due to the removal of parking spaces. So the SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) hinted in a report last week that they may change the design to the old curbside bike lane design, but with more protections for the bicyclists.

But the matter was up for a vote at Tuesday’ SFMTA board meeting. And the board went through the report in detail, heard more than an hour of comment from the public, and then decided to change nothing whatsoever for the time being, as the Chronicle reports.  

The board was apparently not moved by the announcement of a proposed lawsuit from Valencia Street merchants, news of which broke earlier in the day Tuesday. Those merchants feel burned by the removal of some 70 parking spaces on the street, and one of the businesses, the shuttered nightclub Amado’s, blames the bike lane for their closure.  

But the lawsuit was not mentioned in any of Tuesday’s discussions. And public comment was roughly even in sentiment both for and against the new center bike lane.

A commenter named Shirley Johnson, who said she was a frequent cyclist that originally opposed the center bike lane, spoke up for it. “I am now a convert,” she said Tuesday, per Mission Local. “I love the center-running bike lane.”

Board member Dominica Henderson noted she was surprised at how much positive feedback on the center design she heard at Tuesday’s meeting. “Oh, not everybody hates it. Great!” she said Tuesday.

The curbside protected bike lane that some cyclists have been calling for is still a possibility, as the board voted to direct their staff to “develop a design for the side-running bike lane” with a “protected design.” But it will now be months until the board would even discuss such an idea. They only committed to reevaluating the center-running design “in 2024,” without any more definite timeline. And even if they do vote on any changes to the bike lane design, those changes would take at least seven months to implement.  

Related: Valencia Street Center Bike Lane Causing Confusion, Exasperated Shops Say It's Ruining Business [SFNews]

Image: SFMTA