San Francisco business owner goes on hunger strike over new bike lane – NBC Bay Area

A San Francisco business owner says business along Valencia Street has been negatively affected since a protected bike lane opened in the middle of the street. Today he began a hunger strike to draw attention to the consequences he says are happening in the hallway.

“I have been on hunger strike for 30 days. So, water and occasionally juice,” explained Eiad Eltawil. “The main problem is the cycle path.”

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

The cycle path is part of a pilot project to protect cyclists.

“From the start, we were against it. They removed 79 parking spaces and created a commercial zone,” Eltawil said.

Eltawil added that bikes aren’t the only problem and so far he said reaching out to the city hasn’t accomplished much.

“There are no more customers who want to come here because there is no parking. The customer sits outside and asks me what to do and it’s very frustrating. So there is a huge loss of business because of this cycle path,” he said.

Eltawil said he sees changes along the corridor.

“Five businesses closed their doors last week,” he said.

Bike lanes run down the center of the street while cars use the outer lanes.

NBC Bay Area spoke with some of the cyclists on Saturday as they shared their experiences.

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

“I like alleys. I take it to work, I travel on these tracks. I think they’re very helpful,” said Jon Savage of San Francisco.

Another cyclist told NBC Bay Area off-camera Saturday that he doesn’t like bike lanes and doesn’t use them.

It’s difficult to say how much bike lanes have contributed to changes along the corridor. But David Quinby told NBC Bay Area on Saturday that he had to close his venue in November.

Eltawil said he would continue to question the city of San Francisco.

“Please remove the bike lane. Let’s be tighter, find a better solution and decide for all of us,” he said.

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

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