A business owner in San Francisco has initiated a hunger strike in protest of a new bike lane

A San Francisco business owner claims that the opening of a protected bike lane in the middle of Valencia Street has had a detrimental impact on businesses along the street. In an effort to draw attention to what he perceives as the negative consequences of the bike lane, he has commenced a hunger strike.

“I’m doing a hunger strike for 30 days. So, water and once in a while juice,” stated Eiad Eltawil. “The main problem is the bike lane.”

Eltawil and his family own Yasmin Restaurant and Rossi Mission SF.

The bike lane is part of a pilot project aimed at protecting cyclists.

“We were against it from the start. They took away 79 parking spots, they made a commercial zone,” Eltawil said.

He added that the bike lane is not the only issue and, so far, reaching out to the city hasn’t led to much change.

“There are no more customers who want to come here because there is no parking. Customers sit outside and ask me what to do, and it is very frustrating. So, there is a huge loss of business because of this bike lane,” he said.

Eltawil noted that he has observed changes along the corridor.

“Five businesses closed last week,” he said.

The bike lanes run up the center of the street, while cars use the outer lanes.

We spoke to some cyclists on Saturday about their experiences.

“I use it twice a week. It’s working really well for me,” said San Francisco resident Christian Bonvin. “I feel like there is less traffic with cars because there is only one lane for each car. But in general, I feel safer.”

“I do like the lanes. I take them to work, I commute on these lanes. I think they’re very helpful,” said Jon Savage of San Francisco.

Another cyclist stated on Saturday that he does not like the bike lanes or use them.

It’s challenging to determine the extent to which the bike lanes contributed to changes along the corridor. However, David Quinby stated on Saturday that he had to close his venue in November.

Eltawil stated that he will continue to appeal to the city of San Francisco.

“Please remove the bike lane. Let’s work together and find a better solution,” he said.

In a statement, SFMTA said it is in discussions with businesses on Valencia Street and intends to continue collaborating to “work on solutions that best protect both businesses and bicyclists on the corridor.”

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