A non-riding friend of mine related to me a recent experience of riding along the Coyote Creek Trail. She said that she didn’t feel safe due to homeless people living there. I didn’t probe but it reminded me of this blog I wrote a while back on how this issue is manifested in the bike community. Then, homeless families and individuals were increasing their presence along the 87 bike path and SVBC was fielding complaints.
Then, as now, I wondered what we in the bike community could do. Afterall, demanding that our fellow brothers and sisters be removed might solve a problem for those who commute up the trail but it doesn’t solve the broader issues that contribute to people living outside.
The complaints inspired a ride SVBC organized this past weekend. Called Wheelie Home, the ride brought bicyclists out to learn about affordable housing issues. We visited Donner Lofts, Second Street Studios and the site of a proposed sanctioned homeless encampment called Hope Village. Riders pedaled away with a deeper understanding of affordable housing and hopefully, empathy towards those who for whatever reason find themselves in need of support.
Most importantly, we learned that to achieve the mission of Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition – to build a better community, environment and economy through the every day use of the bicycle – our ability to achieve that goal intersects with some of society’s most critical issues. We must not be tunnel vision in our approach to solutions and will be more successful with broad partnerships that recognize our success is dependent upon the success of all.
Thank you to Catalyze SV, Housing Trust Silicon Valley, Destination Home and SV@Home for partnering together to produce the ride. Also, a special thanks to those who met us at each site to educate us about affordable housing, San Jose Councilmember Dev Davis, Michael Santero, Anthony King, Michael Norris and Serena Ip.
We hope to see you all on our next RideSJ ride.