Latino district reps don’t want bike sharing on 24th Street

Photo taken from jumpmobility.com

The Mission’s 24th Street corridor, a Latino cultural enclave and special use district, is not keen on bike sharing. It recently blocked Ford GoBike roll-out and before that was the electronic bike-share company JUMP.

The Calle 24 group opposes the bike-share companies arguing that they fuel gentrification by catering to newcomers. Moreover, they argue, 24th Street has no bike lanes.

“Our community rides bikes out of necessity,” said Erick Arguello, president of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural Corridor group. “It’s a very different culture.”

“JUMP came out of nowhere,” said Arguello said, dumping  10 to 15 bikes along 24th Street” without proper permitting.

His group, which oversees the Calle 24 special use district, notified the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to file a complaint.

“We had merchants call us – the [JUMP bikes] were placed in existing bike racks. Some cyclists weren’t able to put their bikes in,” he said.

The Ford Motor Company-backed GoBike company allows would-be cyclists to rent regular bikes through a smartphone application or Clipper Card. Day passes cost $10 each. Those who qualify for low income programs pay $5 for the first year for a 60 minute ride.

JUMP is an electric, station-less bike share program that charges roughly 7 cents per minute for its use. On its website, JUMP states that its “bikes are part of a UC Berkeley research grant focused on understanding how people will use electric bicycles compared to other types of transportation.”

While Ford GoBike omitted 24th Street from its massive, city-wide expansion plan that placed some 31 bike dock-stations in the Mission alone, JUMP learned the hard way – Calle 24’s pushback forced the company to pull its electric bikes off the street.

An earlier and similar incident in which Chinese-based bike-share company Bluegogo also dropped dozens of dock-less bikes around San Francisco without proper permitting prompted the question of exactly what type of permitting is required for bike-share rentals in the city.

In March, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed new regulations that require the companies to obtain a permit and subject them to administrative fees.  

“We are requiring JUMP to apply for the station-less bike share permit,” said Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the transportation agency. The permit, he said, stemmed from amendments to the transportation code passed by the transportation agency’s board.

“The requirements in the code are intended to ensure that any implementation of this type will be safe, equitable and generally promote the public interest,” he said.

Last month, JUMP had planned to roll-out 100 bicycles throughout the city, and placed some on along 24th Street, which the company has since removed.

Between 20 and 50 of the company’s bikes remain available in a private network and are “available to Bayview and Mission residents that are affiliated with community groups, nonprofits, or local businesses,” said Ryan Rzepecki, CEO of Social Bikes, which administers the JUMP program.

The company filed a permit application on July 10 and is awaiting a response from the city, said Rzepecki.

Despite the neighborhood group’s hostility, the bike share entrepreneur said that he has not abandoned plans to provide electric “smart bikes” to the denizens of the Calle 24 corridor.

“Ideally, we would like to cover that part of the city but we want to be sensitive to the community’s concerns,” said Rzepecki. “We will continue that conversation when we have more support.”

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38 Comments

  1. Akit

    It really disappoints me that some community leaders don’t want bike sharing in the neighborhood. In an Examiner article, one argued it would take away parking spaces. A small bikeshare rack only takes over one parking stall, which means about ten bikes can be parked, versus a single car. I’d say that’s a worthwhile sacrifice. Also, I appreciate Go Bike for offering a discounted rate for low income people, which means they can opt to ride a bike, instead of taking Muni for short trips.

    Bluegogo put a sour taste in our mouths because people would be dumping bikes anywhere they please. At least Jump and Go Bike requires users to secure them to either a designated dock or a public rack.

  2. Erick Arguello

    Wanted to add additional information that was missed from the interview that is important for the public to know. We are a council that oversees the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District. (Fruitvale in the Eastbay has a Unity Council) Our council members are elected by the membership. We have been designated as a Latino Cultural District by the City in 2014 in a unanimous vote by the board of supervisors and signed off by the Mayor. Most recently we have been designated by the State of California as a Latino Cultural District. We have been active in our community since 1999. The founders go back many decades and generations in the Mission. We are not a neighborhood group or merchants group. Our council consist of merchants, residents, arts non-profits, service providers, artist and youth. Many are renters, homeowners, bikers, car drivers, muni riders and low-riders. We have a Mission and Vision that was created by the community in 2012, through public meetings, focus groups, and stake holder interviews. We reached out to 4,000 in the area. Our webpage http://www.calle24sf.org for additional details. We also have a corridor manager that works closely with the merchants.

    One of the goals that we are working on, is a streetscape design. The goal is to be like a Chinatown or North Beach or Japan Town. Not as a museum but as a living breathing Latino Cultural District. Some ideas include temples at the entrance of 24th, or Papel Picado made out of bronze strung throughout 24th. Our plazas (open space) are being preserved for our cultural events, street vendors, musicians and rallies. We hope to tile our bulb outs with beautiful mosaics through out our district.
    We have plans to restore a mural and do some additional landscaping at Plaza Sandino (24th St. Bart). We recently restored the Flags of the Americas that have been on street poles since the 1980’s.

    Calle 24 for decades has been known as “El Corazon de La Mision” it has a rich history and has the largest concentration of Latino business’s on 12 blocks then any other part of the City. We are the birth place of Latin Rock, the birthplace of the mural movement. The Latino Cultural District is from Mission to Potrero Ave from 22nd St. to Cesar Chavez. We are grateful that we have been acknowledged by the city and the state as an important place to preserve and enhance our working class families, business’s, art and community as a whole.

    Ford Gobikes do not fit into the Mission and Vison of the community that we have been working on.

    Ford Gobikes also provide a risk to our undocumented working community. They have a tracking system to collect data. They will track you to find out what streets you are traveling. This data will be used to provide information to find routes for their Chariot private bus shuttles that Ford plans to expand in the city. Privacy issues are a concern.

    We hear from our merchants and residents about parking. Many business’s have closed on Mission Street because of the redlanes and additional removal of parking. Merchants and resident are rent burden, families are sharing spaces. Gardeners and painters who own trucks for work are being burdened further.

    For our low-income families many bikes are found in the area between 100 to 150 dollars. The purchase of a bike will save you much more money in the long term. True bike sharing and not bike renting ideas should come from with-in the community to best serve the community.

    Other areas in SF are becoming cultural district in response to the mass displacement and gentrification happening in our city, in particularly in our low income communities of color.

    • Erick,

      I understand your privacy concerns, especially with the undocumented community. Ford GoBike should address those.

      What evidence do you have that the redlanes and removal of parking have caused many businesses to close on Mission street?

      And I’m not sure if a $100-150 bike would be cheaper in the long term than $5/year, especially if the bike gets damaged or stolen.

      Why doesn’t Ford GoBike fit into your Mission and Vision of the community?

      For example, what about the proposed bike share station at 25th and Harrison at Garfield Square? That station was approved and permitted as a sidewalk station. It will not remove any parking. (And it is not on 24th Street.) Why do you oppose that station?

      I live in the Latino Cultural District, my family is part of this community, and we want GoBike here.

      Matt

    • Hi Erick,

      Bike sharing programs provide a biking solution to people whose housing situation does not permit them to securely house a bike indoors. Bike theft in SF is sufficiently aggressive that parking even a cheap bike on the street overnight is impossible. As such, bike sharing programs such as Ford’s is the best solution for many of you neighbors.

      I suggest that Calle 24 is on the wrong side of this issue. Can you please address my concerns?

      Your neighbor,
      – Jonathan.

  3. Dcorpuz

    Please remind Erick Arguello he doesn’t speak for us. Our affordable housing project at 15th Street will have free bike share for residents. Why would he want to make the Mission the only place in San Francisco we can’t reach on our bikes? What does he have against people who don’t have cars?

  4. Booradley

    ‘Our community rides bikes out of necessity’
    Where does Arguello come up with this stuff? At some point the ‘community’ will wake up and see Arguello’s Luddite approach as the boot on neck repression it truly is.

  5. Michael Andrade

    Thank you. Eric Arguello. As a resident of the Latino Cultural District, you have my support.

  6. Florence

    “The Calle 24 group opposes the bike-share companies arguing that they fuel gentrification by catering to newcomers”…..Newcomers = young people who ride bikes instead of own cars. I think the bike sharing programs do need to work with communities on their roll outs and outreach. But this thing where any change = gentrification (instead of high demand/low supply for housing) is the same argument made in lilly white areas of Potrero Hill. Long time residents want to recycle a few plastic bags and lecture others about environmentalism while driving everywhere, and prevent ANY change to their driving routine and their free parking hook up on public streets. They got in early, and it all needs to stay the same. I’d have an easier time supporting more of what Calle 24 says if you ever heard of them doing anything that wasn’t loudly yelling “NO!” to projects that are focused on pedestrians. It is frankly like the House Republicans, Trump supporters who don’t want to work on a collective vision of the future. They just want to go back in time. A lot of this stuff seems generational more than anything else.

  7. Matt Smith

    I support efforts that will stop 24th Street from becoming another Valencia St. 24th is special for a number of reasons – not only it’s Latin history but it is an important street for arts, culture & bookstores. Please don’t ruin it with more $17.00 deli sandwiches and coffee shops with zombies on laptops or yoga studios with a Marina vibe.

  8. Dwa

    I admire the stance against the bikes. At least the questioning. Ford Go Bike’s arrogance stinks of priviledge. Rzepeski “we will continue the conversation when we have more support.” No- “if” you have more support. We are not post-colonial, especially in our cities and the way businesses and culture intrudes and seeks to profit from and on low income communities of color.

    If a united group says we don’t want this, why can’t people simply respect it. Get you Go-bike in the next neighborhood and let 24th Street be free from rolling brands.

  9. Sally yu

    Calle 24 is for Walls… The higher the better. Let’s Make the Mission District Great Again!

  10. I understand the need to put some sort of brakes on gentrification, but businesses will have a lot more customers if more people can actually access their stores. there are only so many parking spots in the 24th street area. the fact that there is no bike lane is moot if you look at the valencia street bike lanes illegally filled with uber + lyft drivers. more bikes SHOULD be accessing the 24th street district and there should be more bike parking, not less. instead, calle24 has created a void in the system by not allowing any parking of bikeshare bikes. I think it’s fine not to put the parking stations on 24th itself, but just around the corners, but to ban them completely removes a very convenient way for people to come to 24th street. suggesting that people should only buy their own bike, which has a high chance of being stolen in a city that doesn’t care about bike theft, instead of opting into a system that may only cost $5, doesn’t make sense in terms of convenience. I don’t love the fact that everywhere we look there is corporate sponsorship, but the city is not going to be giving out free bikes to everyone in the near future.
    imagine if instead of restricting bikesharing, you did the opposite and closed 24th st to cars from 10am to 8pm every day, turning it into a sunday streets kind of plaza/shopping area. that would slow things down and allow more people to access the shops. is all change bad?

  11. Nino

    As A SF Native this is not the culture of the Mission. Techies want to come to the Mission because of the culture and the amazing food but as soon as they are in the Mission, they bring with them their sense of entitlement and start complaining. Please understand that the Tech culture is only here for the short term. Techies have been leaving to Seattle, Portland and Austin. The irony is now they can’t even afford living here. Trust that when the Tech bust hits they will not give a shit about their bike racks or bike lanes. They will be on their way back suburbia. You can get bet on that.

  12. DJ

    “The Calle 24 group opposes the bike-share companies arguing that they fuel gentrification by catering to newcomers.”

    That is a ridiculous position for community leaders; what kind of community can survive if it resists newcomers? And I very much doubt Calle 24 speaks for everyone they claim to represent when they oppose basic transit improvements.

    • Gideon Kramer

      I totally agree. Calle 24 most definitely DOES NOT speak for the entire Latino community, I’d venture to say not even half. THey just THINK they do. The wisdom of bike sharing or lack of it is a totally separate issue from whether it fuels gentrification, which is a truly ridiculous argument.

  13. Chris Sro

    Maybe we should just build a wall around the Calle, Mr. Arguello? That would be a more effective way to keep out the outsiders and newcomers.

  14. Clair B

    Maybe the Calle 24 group simply saw how ugly the Ford GoBikes were? I mean can they make that Ford logo any bigger? In all seriousness, I wonder how long it will take for some weekend Mission District tourist to check out a Ford GoBike at 15th and Dolores while heading off to Dolores Park, and get mowed over by one of the double-parkers on Dolores. I talk with a lot of my neighbors on all sorts of city planning issues and not one of them had heard anything about what many of us consider an ill-advised transportation alternative.

  15. Nathan

    I moved to San Francisco six years ago from Montreal (not as a techie at least) so I don’t have all that much history with the Mission and the issues here, but I do have experience with bike share programs. In Montreal the story was much the same, everyone was scared of losing parking spots, losing business, accidents, etc. After a few years it became apparent that all those concerns were for naught. Bide ridership grew, parking barely changed and businesses near bike stations even saw a slight increase in business. Overall it was a great improvement and you’d be hard pressed to find a Montrealler today who’s against them.

    That said, San Francisco and the Mission are not Montreal. Issues about gentrification, accessibility and privacy are all valid and things that I hadn’t thought much about. I’m still broadly in support of bringing bike sharing to the neighborhood, but I understand that there are valid frustrations and concerns and I’d like to see this discussed more. The way that JUMP and Bluegogo just showed up without any permits or oversight is super problematic, and Ford certainly has ulterior motives.

    This is the future, these services are popping up in cities all over the world. I think the question isn’t whether it’s going to happen, the question is how is it going to be done.

    • Nathan, was the bike share program in Montreal run by a private corporation, or by the city?

      • Nathan

        It was run by the city (the parking authority in fact) for a few years, then was sold off to a private company. That sucked, because I’m pretty sure that the Ford bikes are actually the same ones that were developed in Montreal.

        I’m not a fan of corporate control of these things, I would much rather they were owned and operated by the communities that they serve. That being said, right now I’d rather see them run by corporations then see them not happening at all. I wish BABS, the city run bike share would have worked, but they really didn’t try hard enough to make it work.

  16. Gideon Kramer

    So nice to have the oh-so-wise Erick Arguello and Calle 24 pretending to speak for the Latino community dictate to the masses what Latinos may and may not do. Their stand is such utter nonsense. This reminds me of the same ridiculous argument Mission Displacement Coalition used to thwart the rock climbing venue at the old Cine Latino on Mission between 21st and 22nd, because after all, “Latinos don’t do rockclimbing.” Identity politics run amok!

  17. PB

    Mexico City and Guadalajara already have extensive bike sharing networks. So, does Calle 24 still want to stand behind their argument that this is incompatible with Latino culture?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EcoBici_(Mexico_City)
    https://www.itdp.org/mibici-bike-share-arrives-guadalajara-mexico/

    • These are both city government programs- much different than the corporate, private sector businesses springing up in San Francisco. As a 30 year Mission resident, I agree with Eric that this does not fit into the Calle 24 Cultural District, (nor the Mission or city as a whole). I would welcome public programs such as the two mentioned above by PB.

  18. Katie Kilkenny

    I live in the latin cultural district (almost 40 years) and sure wish i could have grabbed a bike at Harrison St. to get downtown to a meeting just yesterday, i have been looking forward to this new bike share. I am all for preserving and highlighting in our ‘hood the latino cultural ways (as long as we don’t turn into a gawd forsaken tourist trap, like chinatown with giant buses coming to look at murals and stores line up with cheap tourist things to buy).

    I want the bike share at Harrison St. and believe Calle24 is on the wrong side of this equation. Hearing they got to decide, caused me to pause. Who is this group, how big are they, how many people voted on this? it is a 501c and anyone of us living in the latino section can become members. This bike share is not about gentrification, it is about a city change in transportation, as noted going on in cities all around the world. The mission is FLAT best place to ride a bike round.

    Calle24, you may want to rethink this one and work on other projects that are important to this ‘hood. Others, you may want to start joining this 501c so our common voice can be heard, both sides.

  19. Marcos Flechero

    Yes Eric does speak for us and we don’t want bikes Your just a transplant who doesn’t understand our culture Go Home M——Flower

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