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Bikes Get Street Cred In SF

Bike corrals move onto the street
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Bike corrals move onto the street
Precious parking slots for two wheelers

It used to be that coveted street parking spaces in San Francisco were only for cars, but some are now being set aside for bicycles.

They’re called bike corrals – racks bolted into the street, using a spot that typically would go to a vehicle. This month a handful of corrals popped up in the city, like the one on Valencia at 22nd Street outside insanely popular Boogaloos restaurant.

Two wheelers rule the streets?
Scott James
Two wheelers rule the streets?
Scott James

A sweet street parking space in this hipster part of the Mission is more valuable than a pair of clam digger jeans – so why give it up to bikes? Can’t they just be chained up on the sidewalk like everywhere else?

It’s a sign of changing times. Sure, go to the Mission on a Friday or Saturday night and car parking is scarce. But with the surge in cycling in recent years, just about every available place to lock up a bike is also taken, according to Renee Rivera, acting Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Rivera said there used to be only one bike corral – in the Civic Center. “It was put in front of the Main Library in 2006.” But a court battle over the city’s cycling policies put the idea of any more on hold until an injunction was recently lifted.

And before drivers get angry that all this is just the latest example of the city’s anti-car agenda, it’s important to point out that existing street parking spots were not harmed or killed to make room for the bike corrals. The space was reclaimed from the old bus stops for the 26 Valencia route, which was eliminated in December, according to Kristen Holland of the city transit authority.

A few car parking spaces were also added in that change. In fact, an additional car spot in front of Boogaloos has yet to have a parking meter installed. Get that freebie while it lasts.

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