SF enterprise house owners say Valencia Avenue’s middle bike lane is driving away clients – NBC Bay Space

A coalition of small businesses on Valencia Street in San Francisco’s Mission District says a recently installed center bike lane is killing their shops.

More than a dozen business owners and a few residents took their protest to the street Tuesday, standing in the center bike lane as they demonstrated.

As the demonstrators spoke, drivers whizzing by shouted their disapproval of the lane.

Nikki Dewald, owner and operator of Blondie’s Bar, is one of many who have posters in their windows blaming the center bike lane for a drop in customers. She said because there’s so much confusion on the street now, many of her regular customers just don’t come out anymore.

“If you try and drive down here between 4 and 6, it’s just a line of cars and confusion,” she said. “Lots of yelling and screaming and honking.”

Since the lane’s installation, the reaction from bicyclists has been mixed, with some enjoying the dedicated lane and others decrying it as dangerous and confusing to ride, especially at intersections.

The group of business owners wants the SFMTA to kill the pilot project and move protected bike lanes to South Van Ness, which is a wider street.

Some of the organizers of the Valencia Street event went to the SFMTA board meeting at city hall to press leaders to do something about the center bike lane.

Before the meeting, SFMTA Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin said they recently made adjustments to parking on Valencia in an effort to make the street more accessible to shoppers.

“What we’re trying to do is to maximize the amount of parking availability on every single block as well as take better advantage of the Valencia-Bartlett street garage, which has a couple hundred spaces in it that are under utilized,” Tumlin said.

Tumlin said they’re still evaluating the center bike lane pilot project and may continue it until August of next year when the study period expires.

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