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San Francisco business owner goes on hunger strike over new bike lane

A San Francisco business owner says that business along Valencia Street has been negatively affected since a protected bike lane opened in middle of the street. Now, he’s started a hunger strike to bring attention to the consequences he says are happening on the corridor.

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

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

The bike lane is part of a pilot project to protect cyclists.

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

Eltawil added the bikes are not the only issue and so far, he said that reaching out to the city hasn’t amounted to much.

“There is no more customer that want to come here because there is no parking. Customer 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 said he’s seeing changes along the corridor.

“Five businesses last week closed,” he said.

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

NBC Bay Area spoke to some bicyclists Saturday as they shared about their experience.

“I’m using 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 it to work, I commute on these lanes. I think they’re very helpful,” said Jon Savage of San Francisco.

Another bicyclist told NBC Bay Area off-camera Saturday that he does not like the bike lanes or use them.

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

Eltawil said he will continue to ask the city of San Francisco.

“Please take out the bike lane. Let’s get tighter and figure out a better and decide all of us,” he said.

In a statement, SFMTA said it’s talking with businesses on Valencia Street and plans to continue to collaborate to “work on solutions that best protect both businesses and bicyclists on the corridor.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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