During yesterday evening's rush hour, safe streets advocates [...] started collecting hard data about how often the bike lanes on Valencia Street are blocked by motorists. Take a wild guess what they found: the bike lanes are a de facto loading-and-drop-off zone for cars. [...]
Things picked up -- and got more dangerous -- as the evening progressed. During the last hour, from 6-7 p.m. (Orland calls this the "death trap" hour) 205 bikes had to swerve into traffic on that same stretch of Valencia, thanks to 53 cars that blocked the bike lane -- remember, that's just one block of Valencia, and just one side of the street.
Although not officially counted, the volunteers reported most of the cars had Uber or Lyft symbols on them. It should be noted that Streetsblog observed several police cars passing by, and two cops passing by on foot, but (no surprise) no citations were issued. That said, some drivers of the illegally parked cars seemed wary of the attention -- one BMW driver drove off, but not before gesturing unkindly at Maureen Persico, a Bernal Heights resident and one of the counters. [...]The West side of Valencia between 16th and 17th saw some of the most flagrant disregard for safe operation of motor vehicles between 6 and 7pm. During the 6pm hour, on the West side of Valencia between 16th and 17th, motorists double parked at least once every two minutes. Furthermore, according to the data we collected, over 61 percent of traffic in the 6 to 7pm hour is comprised of cyclists. 205 cyclists were forced to merge into the vehicle travel lane during this hour, compromising their safety and forcing them to squeeze into a narrow travel lane alongside faster moving vehicular traffic. On multiple occasions, we observed cyclists taking evasive action and being forced to quickly maneuver out of the bike lane to avoid collisions with motorists who pulled over or pulled out abruptly, without signaling. This compelling data paints a clear picture of the threat to public safety posed by cars double parking in bicycle lanes. I hope that city officials and SFPD will carefully study this data and take action to ramp up enforcement -- and prevent inevitable tragedy on this high injury corridor -- before it is too late.
50 cars took turns blocking the bike lane on the west side of Valencia between 16th and 17th at the peak hour Tuesday night.