San Francisco restaurant owner launches hunger strike over bike lanes ruining his business

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A San Francisco restaurant owner is in the middle of a month-long hunger strike, protesting the city’s new bike lane experiment he claims is driving his customers away.
Eltawil’s family runs the Syrian restaurant Yasmin and artworks store Rossi Mission SF out of the same building on Valencia Street in the city’s Mission District.
In August, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency unveiled its new two-way protected center bike lane designed to be safer for the city’s most important north-south bike route, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The bike lane project has reduced the number of vehicle lanes down to one side each way between 15th Street and 23rd Street on Valencia.
It’s a last resort for me.” “I don’t want the bike lanes to be responsible for so many people losing their business,” said Eltawil.
“If I was in New York, I’d have lines around the block,” Tunisian restaurant owner Rafik Bouzidi told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Eltawil’s complaints about the bike lanes were met with mixed emotions from locals with some agreeing with the business owner, while others sided with the city’s program for more bike lanes.
The SFMTA said it is working has heard the business owners and is tweaking the design to benefit everyone.


A restaurant owner in San Francisco is protesting the city’s new bike lane experiment, which he believes is driving away customers, by going on a month-long hunger strike.

To express his distaste for the troublesome new bikeway that was constructed outside his store, 41-year-old Eiad Eltawil will spend the next month fasting in a parklet outside his establishment.

Eltawil’s family owns and operates Rossi Mission SF, an artwork store, and the Syrian restaurant Yasmin from the same building on Valencia Street in the Mission District of the city.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency unveiled a new two-way protected center bike lane in August that is intended to make the city’s most significant north-south bike route safer.

The bike lane project has resulted in one side car lane per way between Valencia’s 15th and 23rd streets.

Additionally, 71 metered parking spaces were eliminated as part of the project, which local business owners claim decreased their clientele.

Eltawil claims that during his thirty-day protest, he will sleep outside of his art store, eat nothing but water, and distribute flyers endorsing his hunger strike.

Outside the temporary building that will serve as Eltawil’s home for the next month, he also scribbled his complaints.

“Eiad, the owner of Rossi and Yasmin, has decided to embark on a 30-day hunger strike, which will begin on April 7, in protest of the unfair, racist, and anti-Islamic policies that the Valencia Street Merchants Association, the MTA, and the mayor’s office have imposed on his business.

Eltawil hopes his fast will draw the attention of city officials who could change the bike lanes or force him to close his beloved restaurant after being repeatedly shot down by multiple departments and expelled by the mayor’s office.

Eltawil said to the outlet, “I’ve already suffered so much.”. This way, at least, perhaps someone in authority will notice my difficulties and take appropriate action. For me, it’s a last option. “.

Eltawil stated, “I don’t want the bike lanes to be the reason so many people are losing their business.

Rafik Bouzidi, the proprietor of a Tunisian restaurant, told the San Francisco Chronicle that “I would have lines around the block if I were in New York.”. But it’s as simple as that: San Francisco is killing businesses. “.

After a half-hour of looking for a parking space, Bouzidi says he’s noticed that some people have canceled their reservations with the only Tunisian restaurant in the city.

According to KTVU, eight months after the six-month trial began, the SFMTA describes the experiment as a work in progress.

In the first three months of the bike path’s operation, there were twelve reported collisions involving pedestrians and cars, which is a higher accident rate than before the bike lane opened, according to the Chronicle.

According to SFGate, an SUV turning left onto Valencia struck and killed 80-year-old pedestrian Jian Huang in September while he was crossing the street.

Locals’ opinions on Eltawil’s complaints regarding the bike lanes were divided; some supported the city’s plan to add more bike lanes, while others agreed with the business owner.

According to SFMTA, changes are being made to the design for the benefit of all business owners and it is being worked on.

The agency informed the outlet, “We have spoken with the parklet operators in Valencia and received their feedback about their loading needs to inform the design process.”. We’ll be reaching out and working together all spring long to find solutions that will best safeguard the corridor’s businesses and cyclists. “.

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