Departing Bike Program Engineer Will Be Missed by Leah Shahum

Traffic engineer Manito Velasco, left, has been a key part of the DPT's Bike Program. Shown here at the unveiling of the new "Bikes Belong" green stencils, along with Peter Tannen, the DPT Bike Program Manager.

It's probably no big surprise that the SFBC and the city's Department of Parking and Traffic do not always see eye-to-eye. What we sometimes forget to mention, though, is how much we appreciate the hard work and dedication of the DPT's Bicycle Program staff.

We are particularly grateful to Manito Velasco, an outstanding traffic engineer who works half-time with the Bicycle Program and half-time on traffic management, who is leaving the Bike Program soon to work on another DPT project.

"Manito has offered a refreshingly creative view on so many bike projects," says Dave Snyder, SFBC Executive Director. "He has taken a lot of initiative to fix problems, sometimes even before we ask for them to be studied."

Most bicyclists in SF have probably seen some of Velasco's handiwork. He helped implement the Valencia Street bike lanes, as well as the new bike lanes on 7th and 8th Streets. His current projects include plans for major traffic calming changes on San Jose Avenue, including bike lanes, and plans to "bulb out" the sidewalks connecting Market Street with the Duboce Bikeway, allowing shorter, safer crossings for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Velasco's creativeness is evident at the "Polk Channel," the busy intersection of Polk, Market, and Fell Streets where a small path has been cut into the median to allow bikes to cross easily from Polk to Market Street. Though a relatively small improvement in the grand scheme of things, the Polk Channel is just one example of Velasco's special contribution to the bike program.

"It's been a rewarding experience," Velasco says of working on bike issues. "But there are a lot more gaps left in the Bike Network that we need to work on."