Immigrants in the United States have less access to automobiles than native-born Americans, and therefore travel more frequently using alternative modes, such as carpool, public transit and nonmotorized modes (Smart, 2010).
According to the report Pedaling to Prosperity by the Sierra Club, transportation expense accounts for as much as 55 percent of the budget in low-income families (2012).
Although evidence of income level for Chinese immigrants is limited, the statistical analysis of the data from American Community Survey (ACS) 2007–2011 (the below figure) finds that the Chinese population with language barriers is likely to be classified as “poor” in San Francisco.
This Creative Work is intended to support low-income Chinese immigrants by promoting lower cost transportation alternatives. For this purpose, the bicycle holds great potential to save transportation cost, and still provide efficient mobility.
There is no exact data to show the spatial distribution of Chinese immigrants specifically in San Francisco. Hence, the research assumes Chinese people who answered “less than very well” in English proficiency in the census survey are most likely Chinese immigrants.
The ASC 2007–2011 census data surveyed English proficiency in the Asian populations, both native and foreign-born in San Francisco. Among a total population of 257,781 Asians, 123,935 answered “less than very well” in their ability to speak English.
Because foreign-born accounts for 92 percent in this figure—123,935 people (only 8 percent of native-born), this research defines that about 90 percent of Chinese population who answered “less than very well” in their ability to speak English are immigrants. The figure below shows the distribution of Chinese population whose English ability is less than very well—Chinese immigrants, as defined by this research.
The next figure shows the change in population from 2000 to 2010 among all Chinese (not restricted to Chinese population with limited English ability) in San Francisco.
A comparison of these two maps provides information that more Chinese immigrants have moved to the southeast to southern part of San Francisco in the last 10 years. Although the figure shows strong growth in South of Market (SoMa) and Mission Bay, which are located northeast, the research excludes these neighborhoods due to therelatively higher median income there.
The research determines Parkside, Ocean View, Outer Mission, Crocker Amazon, Excelsior, Visitation Valley and Bayview as primary study areas. For convenience, this research refers to these neighborhoods as Chinese Immigrant Neighborhoods (CINs).
The hypothesis of this research is that Chinese immigrants in San Francisco have lower income and use public transit more frequently than nativeborn Americans, including American Born chinese. Furthermore, it is hypothesized recent Chinese immigrants have less participation in terms of bicycle usage as shown in the below map.
Although, membership in San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) is not exactly correspond to participation in biking, it is generally true that SFBC members are more positively participating in biking and show more interested in bike planning throughout the city than non-members.
Many factors contribute to lower SFBC membership among these neighborhoods. Availability of bike networks may be one of the most significant factors.
The below diagrams show two graphs comparing (a) all of San Francisco’s bike networks—bike paths (exclusive bicycle ways, which are completely separated from motor vehicle ways with no automobile travel lanes adjacent), bike lanes (physically or visually separated from vehicle travel lanes) and bike routes (travel lanes shared with automobiles with/without marking), with (b) selected bike networks—bike paths and lanes (San Francisco Data, 2013).
San Francisco appears to be well connected throughout in the top map, which includes bike routes. However, when the bike routes are excluded, there are distinct gaps in each planning district, especially, in the northeast, southwest, southeast and right middle parts of San Francisco.