Chinese Newcomers Service Center and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition have partnered for multiple events including a Community Bike Build (participants pictured above) last fall, and most recently to perform outreach about Bike Share for All, making bike share available to San Franciscans of limited means. This November we’ll host another bike build with Chinese Newcomers Service Center where we look forward to getting another 30 Chinatown residents on bicycles.
I recently met with Wilson Hoang and Alan Tse of Chinese Newcomers Service Center to discuss biking in Chinatown and what role bicycles play in the commute of Chinatown residents.
SF Bicycle Coalition: How did you become involved with Chinese Newcomers Service Center?
Wilson Hoang: I started volunteering at Chinese Newcomers Service Center first before I started working here. I volunteered with the VITA/TCE program because every year the Chinese Newcomers Service Center runs the tax program during weekends to help people do their taxes for free. I started volunteering with the tax program.
What originally inspired you to invite SF Bicycle Coalition for Community Bicycle Build?
As you can see, the parking in Chinatown is horrendous. I believe that if we start getting our community to start riding bikes and getting feasible transportation in this area, it could help reduce a lot of the cars. If you reduce the cars in this area, it also brings in people who are tourists who want to park, but they can’t, so that also helps the economy. The main things is that there are way too many cars. That’s a danger and a hazard. If you bring bikes in this location, bike lanes are the next step. Bike lanes reduce car traffic by a lot and promote the overall safety in this neighborhood. So that would definitely be one of the major reasons why we want to promote more bike riding in this neighborhood.
What do you see as the importance of biking in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood?
Especially with the construction going on right now, there’s no room for cars. We should definitely just add more bike lanes. I know that’s hard. I know you guys have to fight for each and every bike lane throughout San Francisco. This neighborhood is just the densest and probably needs it.
Why do CNSC’s patrons want bicycles from the Community Bike Builds?
Our patrons are usually immigrants from China. This is our main demographic that we serve. In China they’re not going to be driving cars. In China, cars are a luxury, so 90 percent of the time our demographics and our low-income immigrants were probably using bikes as their main mode of transportation. When they immigrated here they couldn’t bring bikes or they couldn’t afford to get their own here. They just want a bike because that’s what they are used to. They ride bikes to work, to home and to the grocery store. That’s their daily life.
Curious about the Community Bicycle Build program? Sign up today to volunteer at one of our upcoming events and help us place more bikes with people eager to ride but otherwise lacking access to bikes.