Valencia Street Redesign, San Francisco, CA
The Valencia Street Redesign confirms that bicycle infrastructure improvements don’t have to be expensive to provide immediate benefits for all road users. A busy corridor lined with restaurants and shops, Valencia Street is a popular destination for pedestrian and bicyclist traffic. In late 1998, local bike advocates convinced the city of San Francisco to put Valencia Street on a “road diet”—removing two car lanes and installing bike lanes and a median—to make it safer for bikers and walkers. The cost was $130,000, including a traffic study.
Due to concerns that the road diet would worsen traffic for drivers, the city agreed to a one-year year trial: if the new configuration didn’t work for all users, then it would be removed. After a year, it was determined by traffic data and public opinion surveys that the project was a success. Bicycling increased 144%, total collisions declined 20%, car traffic dropped by 10%, and 66% of merchants reported a positive impact on their business. Valencia Street is now the second busiest bike route in San Francisco, and has recently undergone a second, more extensive round of streetscape improvements—making a good street even better.
• 1.8 miles long
• Phase 1 constructed Nov. 1998-Mar. 1999, Phase 2 constructed Aug. 2009-Jun. 2010
• 469 bike users per hour at peak times
• City population: 809,000
• Bike traffic increased 144%
• 2/3 of merchants said the redesign improved business
• Total collisions declined by 20%
• Motor vehicle traffic decreased by 10%
• 218 jobs created
• Phase 1 cost $130,000
• Phase 2 cost $6.1 million, funded through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible Transportation Equity Act-Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) and two Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) grants
View and download a PDF of the project.