On September 12, 2015, Middletown, CA, population about 1500, suffered a devastating blow when the fast-moving Valley Fire swept through town and destroyed city blocks, commercial buildings, and an apartment complex. Those who escaped with their lives lost everything in the fire.
Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition are collecting bicycles, scooters and skateboards that they will deliver to the town of Middletown, CA this weekend to help the residents get around as they rebuild and recover.
Of 400 employed adults who live in Middletown, a quarter of them of them drive 10 to 15 minutes to jobs in nearby towns or to the nearby geothermal power facilities, while another quarter drive the 50 to 100 miles to jobs in Napa, Santa Rosa, and San Francisco. Tourist attractions just outside of town no doubt provide some employment for the locals.
While the US Census American Community Survey shows a big fat goose egg for the proportion of workers who bike to work, most of the kids bike or walk to school, and the significant population of retirees also bike around town along with many other residents. The ACS says 7% of employed residents don’t have access to a car in 2013. That proportion is evidently much higher right now.
Murph is organizing a similar bike-collection from San Francisco. He writes about what he saw:
Lake County has a very high bike to school rate, and bike around rate. Especially now since a lot of people lost their vehicles in the fire, even if they have homes.
I was in a rental car place the other day … and the place was loaded with people trying to rent cars because they were finally allowed home and their cars were destroyed. Some couldn’t because, well, they had no ID, and some because well, Lake County isn’t the Ritz and is a little “off the grid” and they don’t have credit cards. For many, the car was marginally insured and they are scraping up food money let alone buying a car.
Scooters/Skateboards even just as a “get around” thing for kids, Middletown is a pretty old school place where kids just roam. Maybe they lost their house and are staying with friends.
If you’re in the north part of the Bay Area, consider dropping a donor bike or skateboard off at the Bike Sonoma office in Santa Rosa.