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Transportation

Why Would a Bike Shop Fight a Bike Lane?

A store owner is objecting to San Francisco’s plan to install a protected bike lane, because of parking worries. Should it matter that it’s a bike shop?
A protected bike lane along San Francisco's Market Street, which went car-free in January. Efforts to extend the city's protected cycling infrastructure have met some unexpected resistance.
A protected bike lane along San Francisco's Market Street, which went car-free in January. Efforts to extend the city's protected cycling infrastructure have met some unexpected resistance.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

There’s nothing new about a store owner fighting a bike lane. Street changes that eliminate curbside parking spaces often stoke shopkeeper ire in cities around the world.

But a leading voice calling on San Francisco officials to rethink cycling improvements slated for Valencia Street puts an Onion-esque spin on that old narrative. The owner of the 35-year-old Valencia Cyclery — the oldest bike shop on a strip that has long been the center of local cycling culture — opposes the city’s plans to sandwich a row of vehicle parking between traffic lanes and the existing unprotected bike lane. The barricade of stationary vehicles that would physically segregate cyclists from moving cars as a safety boost would also strip 47% of curbside spots along the segment in question, according to city estimates.