Bicycle Resource Center

The Bicycle Resource Center (BRC) is our flagship project.  This is a hands-on bicycle workshop where Chainbreaker members who have gone through one of our training programs help others get a used bike and/or learn how to repair and tune it up.  Since we aren’t a service-based organization, we don’t do repairs or tune-ups in the same way that most bike shops do.  At Chainbreaker, we don’t do anything for anyone.  If you have a bike that you need to fix or you need a bike to ride and you can’t afford to pay for it, stop by the shop and we will guide you through the process of becoming a member and getting a bike and/or fixing it up.

If you don’t have time to work on your own bike,or you don’t want to get your hands dirty, we suggest visiting a local bike shop, or looking through classified ads and at yard sales. We can give you recommendations of places to look and what to look for.

We try to keep our limited resources open to people who honestly can’t afford to buy a new or used bike somewhere else. So if you can afford to buy a new or used bike, please do so.

If you need a bike, please come by the Shop when we are open and talk to us in person. If you have donations of bicycles, parts, tools or accessories, please bring them by the shop when the project is open.

 

Resident’s Bill of Rights

A New Way of Creating Housing Policy Takes Hold in Santa Fe!

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In July, 2015, the tireless work of Chainbreaker members, community members and ally organizations paid off when City Council voted unanimously to pass the Resident’s Bill of Rights resolution.

Dozens of Chainbreaker members and community members showed up at the meeting to voice their support for the resolution. After a limited attempt by one City Councilor to make changes that would have significantly weakened the language of the resolution was thwarted, the resolution passed with all City Councilors and the Mayor voting in favor.

The lead sponsor of the resolution, Councilor Maestas , along with Councilors Bushee and Dominguez made very strong statements in support of the resolution, acknowledging the community need and validating the experiences and efforts of the hundreds of Santa Feans who conceived of, created and advanced this resolution.

The resolution takes five pillars from Chainbreaker’s Resident’s Bill of Rights to create a framework for how housing and planning policies should be made from now on. The five pillars are:

  1. Affordability — Housing in Santa Fe should be affordable relative to household income and other reasonable expenses.
  2. Quality, Sustainability and Health — Housing in Santa Fe should contribute to individual, family, community and planetary health.
  3. Accessibility, Fairness and Equity — Housing in Santa Fe must be made accessible to historically marginalized peoples and be well integrated socially and geographically.
  4. Stability, Permanence and Protection from Displacement — Ensure that Santa Feans’ homes are protected from irrational market forces and changes in government policies over the long term.
  5. Community Control — Santa Fe’s housing should be controlled democratically with special protections allowed for low-income and neighborhoods of Color.

IMG_2522The passage of this resolution sets the stage for important conversations and new planning policies that support the needs of the community. It creates a precedent and a new tool to hold elected officials accountable to the needs of all Santa Feans.

It is not an end in and of itself. It is only the beginning.

Chainbreaker members will continue to organize to bu ild support for the next steps toward housing justice that this resolution enables.

Creating the Resident’s Bill of Rights

IMG_0038Since 2004, Chainbreaker was focused on Transit Justice because car-dependency keeps people poor. But the high cost of living in Santa Fe makes car-dependency hard to escape for many low-income people. Development efforts in our neighborhoods rarely include our voices — the voices of the people currently living there — leading to gentrification. As more and more of us get displaced, we move to sprawling areas that disproportionately lack resources, jobs or services. this leads to even more car-dependency and the cycle continues.

The root of the problem is the lack of affordable housing in Santa Fe. A national report released in 2013 showed that over half of all Santa Fe renters have unaffordable rents and that almost a third of all Santa Fe renters pay more than 50% of their income on housing. Even at a time when housing affordability is in a crisis everywhere in the country, these numbers are higher than the national average.

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In a study commissioned by the City of Santa Fe in 2012, home prices have risen by 65% and affordability is the most cited reason why renters are unable to own homes. At the same time, the median rent in Santa Fe increased by 25%, making it even harder for renters to get by. Because of this, only about 38% of people who work in Santa Fe can afford to live here.

These numbers are staggering, but are not surprising for those of us who feel the effects of this housing crisis every day. We watch our friends and family members move out of Santa Fe to more affordable cities. We struggle to pay rising rents. We face evictions and foreclosures through no fault of our own. We see the number of people living on the streets grow and many of us face homelessness ourselves. We wait on lists for years to get the chance to move into affordable housing.

But Santa Feans Couldn’t Wait Any Longer!

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Chainbreaker members worked hard to create a community-led “Bill of Rights” that can help make lives better for the people who are bearing the brunt of the housing affordability crisis in Santa Fe. We rode buses and knocked on doors to build a real movement for housing justice in Santa Fe.

After over a year of organizing, gathering input from hundreds of community members, dozens of meetings and countless conversation, the Resident’s Bill of Rights was finally created.

Almost immediately, due to the tireless work of Chainbreaker members, another victory was claimed for our city. In July, 2014, a city resolution mirroring our Bill of Rights was later adopted unanimously by city council, paving the way for a new era for Housing Justice in Santa Fe!

Help Santa Feans Ride! Bus Pass Rebate

In 2012, Chainbreaker members fought hard and won money to buy new buses and build new bike infrastructure.   When a proposal to use some of that money to create a bike-share (a taxpayer subsidized bike rental) program, Chainbreaker members sprung into action.  The bike-share proposal raised serious equity concerns and threatened to take money away from our already underfunded bus system.

We had a better idea.  In Autumn of 2013, we won a campaign to use that money to provide free bus passes to people who get bikes and equipment from many local bike shops or through the Bicycle Resource Center.

Car-dependence keeps people poor.  Transportation can take a huge chunk of working people’s income.  But for too many, living car-free is out of reach.  Riding a bike can be hard because most working people can’t afford to live close to town.  Our bus system is underfunded and there is not enough service in most areas.  Walks to and from the bus stop are sometimes far and unsafe.  This program is the first step toward changing that.  As long as it is funded, people in Santa Fe won’t have to choose between buying a bike or buying a bus pass.

 

There are two types of passes available:

  • Monthly Bus Pass Rebate
    You’re eligible for a free monthly bus pass if you bought comuter or safety equipment for more than $20 at a participating store.  Because this type of equipment is difficult to recycle, the Bicycle Resource Center will not be issuing receipts for rebates in this category. 
  • Annual Bus Pass Rebate
    You’re eligible for a free annual bus pass if you bought a new or use bike for more than $240 at a participating store or received one through the Bicycle Resource Center

To receive your free bus pass, bring a qualifying receipt to the Santa Fe Trails Office at 2931 Rufina St.  You can take the Route 2 bus and ask the driver for directions.

You can receive both a monthly and annual bus pass, but you can only receive one in each category.  If you made more than one purchase  with the intention of getting a rebate for someone else, please have them come with you to redeem your passes.

Did you receive a rebate?  Share your story with us so we can help expand the program.

 

WE WON!: Help Santa Feans Ride!

¡SI SE PUDO!

 greg ortiz victoryAfter months of strategizing and organizing, the tireless work of countless Chainbreaker members finally paid off.  On June 12, 2013 our City Council voted unanimously to support our HELP SANTA FEANS RIDE campaign.  Help Santa Feans Ride will help people who struggle with transportation costs by distributing free annual bus passes to people who get a bike through the Bicycle Resource Center or buy one at a local store.

In addition to creating a program that is the first of its kind in the country, the campaign also effectively shut down efforts to create a “Bike-Share” program – a taxpayer subsidized bicycle rental program – because it raised serious equity concerns and threatened to leach money away from our already underfunded bus system.

This is an important victory for Chainbreaker members and the community as a whole. 

By passing this law, Chainbreaker members were able to highlight transportation as an economic and environmental justice issue, begin conversations about how city planning policies can benefit one group over another – often at the expense of low-income people of color, and create sound public policy that supports the people who bear the brunt of this economy.

The details are still being worked out, but we expect the program to go into effect in August.  We will provide updates as they come.  Join our email list to keep informed about the progress of this campaign and all our work.

This campaign was such a sweeping success because people like you decided to get involved!

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Background Information:

The First Regional Park on the South Side

A bond question was included on the ballot during a city election in March, 2012 to expand trail connectivity and create the first regional park in Santa Fe’s South Side.  The South Side is an area composed largely of low-income people of color and is disproportionately lacking in infrastructure.

Winning the bond election helped us move our mission forward, but also presented a unique challenge for us because we had never conducted a voter campaign before.  In addition, many of our members feel so disenfranchised by the system that they rarely vote and many others are not able to register to vote at all.

We launched a voter registration and education campaign called Votante Pa’Lante to educate our community about this election.  We focused on “unlikely” Latino voters in low-income areas of the South Side that are often overlooked by traditional voter campaigns.  This campaign allowed us to expand our capacity for community education about the unjust city planning and gentrification that drives the need for expansive transit systems affecting residents of the South Side.

Through our outreach, we created a list of nearly 2,000 people.  Our get-out-the-vote efforts on election day documented mobilizing roughly 300 people to vote.  We are confidant that several more people wore moved to vote through this campaign, many of whom engaged in the electoral process for the first time.  the bond question we were focused on passed by a slim margin of just over 300 votes with our targeted precincts reporting overwhelming support.

Homes For All – Reclaim! Remain! Rebuild our cities!

Homes For AllOne of the root causes of transit injustice is inequitable urban planning.  As our cities grow, many low-income people can no longer afford to live in centralized neighborhoods and are forced to move to areas that lack access to work opportunities, health and recreation centers, access to healthy food or other amenities that are needed for sustainable communities.  The public transportation systems in these areas lack the funding to be truly effective alternatives to driving.

This process is called gentrification.  Gentrification mostly hurts low-income people of color.

As gentrification happens more and more, it causes our cities to sprawl and leaves many of us with little alternative to car-dependency.  As our commute times increase and gas prices rise, it creates a cycle of poverty that is hard to break.

Chainbreaker is proud to be part of Right to the City – a national alliance of grassroots organizations fighting for housing justice.  We are participating in the Homes For All Campaign to bring Santa Fe’s fight against gentrification and to preserve our culture, our neighborhoods and our people into the national arena.

Join the struggle for housing justice!

Transit Riders for Public Transportation

After we successfully stopped sweeping service cuts and fare hikes to our bus system, we joined a national alliance of transportation justice organizations called Transit Riders for Public Transportation (TRPT).  TRPT is a coalition of grassroots organizations like Chainbreaker and was working on a coordinated campaign targeting the Federal Surface Transportation Bill that was being considered for renewal in Spring of 2012.  The goals of the campaign were to inject an environmental justice analysis into the federal surface transportation bill, strengthen civil rights protections for transit projects and increase funding for transit operations around the country.

BRC University

Each One Teach One

The BRC University is a popular education based skill sharing program to develop new community leaders and support the Bicycle Resource Center (BRC).  Over a 10 week comprehensive course participants learn the skills to become certified mechanic instructors and help run the BRC.

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This program is much more than a training program for bicycle mechanics. The BRC not only provides immediate transportation solutions for hundreds of low-income people who would otherwise be stranded, but it serves as a springboard for our larger transit justice work. BRC University graduates know the ins and outs of community organizing as well as bicycle mechanics.

The program runs through 2 cycles each year.  It is free for participants, but requires a dedication to our ideal’s and ongoing commitment to share the skills received with others through the BRC.

Check out the 2016 calendar. If you are interested in participating in the next session, please check out the application call or  contact us for information on how to apply.

Women’s Night and Spanish Night for BRC

Because society imposes different gender rolls for men and women, the Bicycle Resource Center can, unfortunately, be very male-dominated.  Many self-identifying women have told us that this can create an uninviting climate for them. A group of dedicated female mechanics responded by creating a workshop night by women and for women.

In response to a similar dynamic for monolingual Spanish speakers, a Spanish-only workshop night was also created.

We did this to be true to our organizing principles and to create environments where all of our members could have equal access to the BRC.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources, and  political climate forcing us to constantly engage in organizing campaigns to defend our bus system, we have since had to suspend these special workshop nights.

Once resources become available, we will re-open both of these special workshop nights.  We would also like to launch a special BRC workshop night for youth under 21.  If you have any interest in helping restart these programs, please contact us to make it happen!