SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Bike paths in San Jose are getting a facelift, just as more and more workers are considering commuting by bicycle as a way to beat rising gas prices.
"I live in downtown San Jose. I work 8 miles north and it's beautiful," said Michael, who was riding on the Guadalupe River trail on Friday.
This spring, the city is taking action to make the rides even safer and more accessible. Paved trails have been re-striped for safety purposes and vegetation is being cut back.
With gas prices soaring, the city wants to remind drivers that its network of bike paths can be a commute alternative.
"It's really something people really need nowadays. That affordable, dependable way of getting around, that doesn't have the high gas prices associated with it," said Jessica Zenk of the San Jose Department of Transportation.
But there is no quick fix for some of the biggest obstacles bike riders face: unhoused people's tents and property sometimes blocking the paths.
The trails run through the city's center on the banks of the Guadalupe River or Coyote Creek where the unhoused population grew into the hundreds during the pandemic.
Some paths that suddenly dead-end into a large camps filled with debris.
"We're trying to bring that back into balance make sure people have options on where to live and that they don't infringe on the rights of others who want to use those paths to get to other parts of the city." Zenk said.
Riders KPIX 5 spoke to said they haven't encountered problems with people in the camps.
"I've been through there, came back, nobody hassled me. It just wasn't that big of a deal," said Mark Penner of Campbell.
But the debris and broken glass on the trails can cause flat tires.
"I've had several flats here on the Guadalupe Trail. It's just part of riding a bike," Michael said.
As new trails open and as they become more popular, the city plans to add even more services.
San Jose Police said they have added bike patrols to certain trails to give trail users an added sense of security.
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