Meet the newest member of the Cal Walks team: Nikita Sinha
Growing up in San Jose, I didn’t really think about transportation. I loved walking to the neighborhood park, library, and local restaurants, but I drove anytime I was going somewhere further than a mile away. With busy streets, narrow sidewalks, and no bike lanes, driving always seemed like my only option. And I never thought twice about driving, because in San Jose that was the norm. A long series of decisions and policies in San Jose have resulted in a sprawled out, suburban city that prioritizes cars over any other method of transportation.
I didn’t realize what a pedestrian-, bicycle-, and transit-friendly city looked like until I moved to Davis to study environmental science. As a student, I was exposed to the idea that environmentally conscious decisions usually come with a cost or sacrifice. However, at the same time, I was biking, walking, and taking the bus instead of driving every day at no cost and with no sacrifice. Active transportation was built into the city in a way that allowed residents to contribute to a thriving environment without giving up time or safety. Living in Davis, I learned that where we live and the choices we make can and should be sustainable, healthy, and fun.
After graduating and completing a CivicSpark AmeriCorps fellowship in Santa Rosa, I decided to move back to San Jose. Being back, I’m learning to challenge my own ideas of what it means to live in of this city. Most recently, I worked as the South Bay Intern at Greenbelt Alliance, where I supported community members who are passionate about creating equitable, affordable, and accessible spaces. Residents and policymakers alike are engaging in conversations on transportation, housing, and land-use decisions and trying to find solutions that will not just make the South Bay livable, but will also allow people to thrive here. People across the Bay Area are passionate about bicycle and pedestrian safety, and deserve sustainable choices that are safe and convenient.
I’m excited to join California Walks and our Walk San Jose program because our communities here are ready to re-imagine the spaces they live in, with a focus on people instead of cars. San Jose’s built environment can and should allow residents to be safe and to love where they live. I look forward to being a part of the conversation on how we can make San Jose accessible and enjoyable for residents of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities.