Eight-year-old Valencia Street bar Amado’s apparently closed for good over the weekend, with the owner blaming the street’s new center bike lane. To add insult to injury, the SFMTA just delayed its evaluation of possible changes to that bike lane.
A sign currently in the storefront window of the Valencia Street nightclub Amado's does not mince words. “This bike lane is killing small businesses and our vibrant community,” the sign says.
And it did kill that small business, according to that small business. Mission Local reported Thursday morning that Amado’s had closed permanently. A follow-up report from the SF Standard noted that the venue's final day in business was Saturday.
“Unfortunately, it closed last week because of the bike lane,” Amado’s owner David Quinby told Mission Local.
Amado's, the music venue & bar that has been on Valencia since 2015, has closed.— Mission Local (@MLNow) November 30, 2023
Its owner blamed dwindling sales from the Valencia center bike lane—though its effect were unclear & the bar also suffered a costly flood this year.
via @AnnikaHom https://t.co/cEPJXqBxY1
Though, obviously, Amado’s was also struggling in recent months because of a June flood in their basement that rendered the lower level of the venue unusable.
“Usually the downstairs is saved for larger, more lucrative events, ticketed events,” Amado’s general manager Garsha Shabankhani told SFist about a month after that incident. “The immediate damage is that we are not able to produce many of the shows and events. We had to cancel a lot of shows. It’s unfortunate, because it hurts us financially, as well as the artists.”
The sign saying “This bike lane is killing small businesses” was not made by Amado’s, but instead by the San Francisco Small Business Coalition. That organization has an online petition calling for immediate changes to Valencia Street’s new center bike lanes that critics say create unnecessary safety issues, and businesses on the corridor say is driving off customers because of reduced parking options.
But if the SF Small Business Coalition is hoping for immediate changes to the Valencia bike lane, they are going to be disappointed with the latest news from SFMTA. KGO reports that the transit agency just delayed their review of the bike lane, which was supposed to be finished by year’s end, until some undetermined time in 2024.
"We will continue to make adjustments while we do our larger and more formal evaluation that will be coming to you with in early 2024," SFMTA director Jeffrey Tumlin said at last week’s board meeting.
And that’s infuriating to Valencia corridor business owners who say the center lanes, and their affect on parking, is absolutely driving down their revenue. "It has gone down a lot ever since the bike lane was built," Chick-n-time owner Michael Ho told KGO. "I think I lost about 20% of revenue due to parking. I'm here every day and they are out here even at night giving tickets."
It can be debated whether the center bike land is what did in Amado’s, considering they had separately lost a lucrative aspect to their business, and were forced into a massively expensive repair job. And it’s highly debatable how many Valencia Street bar patrons actually drive to get there.
But it cannot be denied that a consensus chorus of Valencia Street merchants argue that the bike lane has been a disaster for their business, and that SFMTA has been slow to get a handle on the bike lane situation.
Images: Joe Kukura, SFist