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Lyft, Uber drivers ‘out of control’ in Mission District bike lanes

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San Francisco lawmaker wants ride-hailing companies to police where their drivers stray

Lyft At Its San Francisco Headquarters Showcasing Lyft Cars, The Glowstache, The Lyft App, Lyft Passengers And Drivers Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lyft

Supervisor Hillary Ronen, whose district includes the Mission, says that Lyft and Uber are driving her and her staff crazy by crowding bike lanes in the neighborhood’s critical Valencia Street cycling corridor.

Ronen penned a letter of complaint to both San Francisco-based companies Tuesday, demanding that they work with City Hall to prevent drivers from constantly pulling into bike lanes to pick up and drop off fares.

Via a press release, Ronen said:

"Two of my legislative aides bike on Valencia every day, along with thousands of my district constituents, and I know that their rides are spent dodging cars. I am utterly fed up with Lyft and Uber pretending they have no role in this, essentially condoning their drivers’ flouting of San Francisco’s traffic and parking laws.

“What I am asking these companies to do is simple, will cost them nothing, and can be implemented immediately.”

In the letter itself Ronen says, “Valencia is completely out of control with bikes, cars, and pedestrians struggling to safely navigate the street.”

She suggests that the billion-dollar companies, who have helped saturate city streets with vehicular traffic, designate certain areas on Valencia as pick up spots and then mark the safe zones via their app’s GPS. Both companies already do something similar to steer drivers away from construction zones.

In August, both Ronen and District Eight’s Jeff Sheehy said that the city should also install physical barriers to bike lanes on Valencia to protect from traffic.

No one at Lyft or Uber was immediately available for comment on the supervisor’s complaint.

A pickup spot in Indianapolis.
Photo by Jonathan Weiss

In related news, SFPD Commander Robert O’Sullivan recently complained to the Board of Supervisor’s Land Use and Transportation Committee (which Ronen does not sit on) that Lyft and Uber drivers were responsible for more than 78 percent of bike lane violations downtown. However, the number of those violations—28 over the course of a dozen days—paled in comparison to the thousands of transit lane snafus recorded.

On Tuesday, Mayor Ed Lee squared away a deal with local ride-hailing companies to begin experimenting with specially painted curbs for pick ups and drop offs “in a yet-to-be determined commercial corridor.”

In exchange, the city gets access to traffic data collected by the companies, which ostensibly could help guide anti-gridlock efforts.