Construction Camp on V-Street

Valencia Street is a dangerous place, more or less. We’ve all heard the debate: are there so many bike accidents on Valencia and Market because they are such dangerous (bad) bike routes, or because they are such well-used (good) bike routes? I say a combination of the two.

Today, though, I’m interested in making this a more nuanced discussion: is Valencia so dangerous because of the potholes or because of the constant construction fixing the potholes? I am not, of course, some freaky pothole fan, but I can get used to them. I ride Valencia twice a day, every day, and it’s not potholes that set up camp a block or two at a time and leave a single lane for both directions of car + bike traffic, and travel leisurely up and down the road for months on end. Potholes don’t make that awful, numbing noise, and potholes don’t have the terrifying visual impact of a cavernous hole cut in the asphalt with only a sparse line of orange cones to shield it. A pothole did not spray me with muddy water yesterday as it cut a chunk out of the pavement.

Do not go putting the potholes up on pedestals, now. They need fixin’. I love the SFBC for marking them to increase visibility and encourage municipal action, with events like Crater Invaders getting lots of folks involved. I love the people who are actually doing the work – and it’s not easy, pleasant, or pretty – to keep San Francisco roads rideable, driveable, and walkable for all of us. What I am asking is a pothole-neutral question: why has there been construction on Valencia Street almost every day since I moved to San Francisco? It’s only 2 miles long, from beginning to end. It is only the middle part of my commute. What is going on?

Construction workers, perhaps, enjoy the culture they’ve discovered in the Mission. It might be the greatest agreement forged between hipsters and wage earners since the trucker hat: Valencia Street is the finest drag in San Francisco.

Mission Mission’s “Cycling” category here.

Complete Mission Mission Valencia Street coverage here.

14 Responses to “Construction Camp on V-Street”

  1. brittney says:

    “I am not, of course, some freaky pot hole fan,” made me laugh out loud.

  2. dparker says:

    Utilty companies are upgrading service lines ahead of the repaving. Comcast is all over the place laying new fiber. Chronicle article from last month and SFBC query on status: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/03/10/BAFHVCRDO.DTL

  3. Allan says:

    also, isn’t there a stretch above 14th or 15th that’s like done and done? if so, how nice is that?

  4. no one in particular says:

    Yeah, I think between 14th and 15th is brand new paved beauty. Seeing that makes me almost think all the construction is worth it. If the whole street ends up like that? Wow.

  5. chuckles says:

    Yeah, there’s a stretch north of 15th that is repaved–but it’s been over two weeks and the bike path still hasn’t reappeared. Smooth–but more dangerous.

  6. hereandthereblog says:

    I’m not sure the construction on Valencia has so much to do with why it would be dangerous. SF is just a dangerous town to ride a bike (or walk, or drive a car) in because there’s such transportation chaos. By that, I mean that there’s no established hierarchy. No one mode of transportation effectively yields right-of-way to any other.

  7. jessica says:

    I live on Valencia, and I got a flier a couple months ago detailing the endless road repair/construction, which is slated to go on until 2009. It’s part of a long-term “Valencia Beautification” project that (supposedly) will result in wider sidewalks, more bike racks and new trees, from 14th all the way down to Cesar Chavez. They are resurfacing the road ahead of this. A second phase will go north to Market and include the addition of a new park at that weird McCoppin/U-Haul dead end on the way to the Octavia path. I am also not a fan of the perpetual nightmare that has been this work, given that it starts outside my window at 7am. However, it does seem the the intended outcome is a positive one. Hopefully this info will help everyone else to tolerate it too.

  8. [...] Construction Camp on V-Street Valencia Street is a dangerous place, more or less. We’ve all heard the debate: are there so many bike accidents [...] [...]

  9. [...] post: Construction Camp on V-Street Explore posts in the same categories: [...]

  10. Allan says:

    the park thing sounds cool

  11. jbeaman says:

    it sucks now but jessica is right. it’s going to be super rad in 2009.

  12. beccahg says:

    At 7:10 this morning, thinking of you all, I rode the smooth (bike path-less) stretch of Valencia Street around 14th and 15th before rattling my way up the rest of the street to work. It was lovely. Thanks for all the good info on construction plans – now I’m looking forward to awesome functional utilities, forests of bike racks, and the McCoppin-U-Haul Memorial Park.

  13. [...] Construction Camp on Valencia Street Explore posts in the same categories: News [...]

  14. [...] of such beloved Mission Mission posts as The Phonebooth Actually Very Pleasant Before Dark and Construction Camp on Valencia Street) recently left the Mission for greener pastures. She’s mixing business, pleasure, activism [...]

  15. boom trucks says:

    It is truly amazing to see the effort put forth by a country in need. in these trying times the best thing possible is to keep moving forward and to keep building and progressing to a better tommorrow. Construction is the cornner stone of our foundation that makes this country what it is.

  16. Interesting debate. I think the potholes could be extremely dangerous and that they should eventually be fixed but in a timely fashion. Good construction equipment could help fix these potholes in no time at all.

  17. interesting post! thanks for sharing!

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