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San Francisco bar and music venue closes, blaming controversial bike lane

A sign with hangs from a window of a bar that is closing its doors because of a controversial bike lane.
A bicyclist rides past Amado’s bar and music venue at 998 Valencia St., where a sign blames the Valencia Street bike lane for the bar’s recent closure, on Thursday. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

San Francisco bar and live music venue Amado's closed Saturday, according to the owner.

Amado's owner, David Quinby, blamed a controversial center-running bike lane on Valencia Street in a letter from Quinby reviewed by The Standard.

Amado said in the letter that sales dropped 80% after the bike lane was installed and created a hassle for musicians wanting to play at his bar due to a lack of parking.

"Musicians drop off their gear to perform, but many are then ticketed or towed because the [San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency] removed all of the parking on one of San Francisco's formerly most vibrant mixed-use corridors," Quinby wrote.

A picture of the bar at 998 Valencia St. shows a sign reading, "This bike lane is killing small businesses and our vibrant community."

Quinby also told Mission Local that the transit agency, which created the center-running bike lane on Valencia Street, demanded he close his parklet on Valencia Street to improve pedestrian safety as part of the bike lane project.

A cyclist and a person crossing the street in front of Amado's bar that is closing on Valencia St.
A bike goes by Amado’s bar and music venue located at 998 Valencia St. at Valencia and 21st streets on Thursday. | Source: Gina Castro/The Standard

READ MORE: No Salvaging New Center-Striped Bike Lane on Valencia Street, San Francisco Cyclists Say

Transit advocates have also opposed the center-running bike lane, saying it is dangerous to cyclists due to cars and trucks that drive through and park in the bike lane.

Others on Reddit seemed skeptical about Quinby blaming the closure on the bike lane.

Leading up to the closure, Amado's had suffered a major flood during Pride weekend in June that forced it to close its basement live music venue, which the venue said halved its revenue in a Sept. 8 Instagram post.

Quinby said that the 80% loss he attributes to the center-running bike lane on Valencia Street happened on top of the halving of his bar's revenue caused by the flood.

"Nobody was coming in," Quinby said in a text.

A GoFundMe message from Amado's said the damage was estimated at $500,000. The fundraiser has only raised roughly $26,000 of its $50,000 goal as of Thursday.

The SFMTA said in response to Quinby blaming the bike lane on the bar's closure that the lane is meant to improve safety for people who live and patronize businesses on Valencia Street.

"The SFMTA is committed to making Valencia Street a safe and inviting place for everyone," said spokesperson Stephen Chun. "The corridor is a dynamic and culturally important part of our city, and we want it to prosper both now and for years to come."

The SFMTA also said it has worked to accommodate small businesses by adjusting the hours that parking spaces are designated as loading zones on Valencia Street between 15th and 23rd streets so that there is more parking available during the day.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at garrett@sfstandard.com