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Gentrification fears push bikeshare out of Mission

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Neighborhood cultural group says bikeshare apps cater to newcomers, not locals

Ford Motor Company’s app-enabled bike sharing program GoBike is all over downtown San Francisco, SoMa, and the length of Market Street, but despite the company’s clear intentions to expand further into the Mission, the San Francisco Examiner says that some Mission dwellers have drawn a line in the sand—or asphalt—to keep it out.

The paper reports:

Erick Arguello, founder of Calle 24, a neighborhood group that represents 24th Street, said his group and others told Ford GoBike flatly, “no” when they asked to place docks for their “shareable” blue bikes on 24th Street, and close nearby. Arguello claimed the bikeshare companies cater to newcomers with means, and not longtime Latino neighbors.

“The way we shop, the way we travel, it’s a very different culture,” Arguello said. “We did say, ‘No, we don’t want bikeshare on 24th street in the Latino Cultural District.’”

That’s about as hard as a no can get.

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Arguello also cited practical concerns about losing parking spaces in favor of bike stations. Right now there are two GoBike stations near 16th and Mission and one near Dolores Park, with nearly a dozen more advertised as “coming soon” in the neighborhood.

GoBike spots now pepper neighborhoods in Oakland, San Jose, Emeryville, and Berkeley as well as San Francisco.

Users can check for available bikes nearby with a phone app. Single rides cost $3 for a 30 minute block of time, or a monthly pass goes for about $15 these days.

Earlier this week, the Daily Californian noted that Ford’s expansion in the East Bay neglected neighborhoods in East Oakland, alleging that the company “isn’t starting out on the right foot for inclusivity.”

But now it’s Ford’s attempt to expand into new neighborhoods that’s getting heat. Arguello did not actually use the word “gentrification” when speaking to the Examiner, but Calle 24 often cites worries that the city’s cultural shift toward technology endangers neighborhood history in the Mission.

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In a 2014 report to the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District Community Council, researchers for Garo Consulting wrote of 24th Street residents’ worries:

There were major concerns among all stakeholders about the lack of affordable housing and about the gentrification and recent eviction and displacement of long-time residents.

A related theme was the rapid community transformation underway, with some saying they wanted to prevent another “Valencia” (referring to the way Valencia lost much of its Latino culture in the 1990s and 2000s).

The nearest Ford bike station to the 24th and Mission intersection right now is at 17th and Valencia.