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In the early morning of Padres Opening Day Thursday, April 14, cleanup crews with the city of San Diego began collecting bikes, tents and other personal belongings lining an area of 16th Street in downtown.
It’s something the city does regularly. And something often documented by homeless advocates who take issue with the city’s response to a crisis that has continued to grow on our streets.
But on Thursday, homeless advocate Michael McConnell posted a video on Twitter documenting workers throwing several bikes away to be crushed by the packer blade of a garbage truck. The video was shared by hundreds of people who were outraged that the city crews were throwing away bikes.
The city’s response to the bikes being thrown away was that they, “were evaluated and determined to be inoperable due to missing or broken parts.”
Notices were displayed in the area ahead of Thursday’s cleanup efforts, the city said, which gave the owners time to claim their items. The city posted a three-hour notice ahead of the cleanup.
“Crews make every effort to reach out to people in the area in the attempt to preserve personal belongings. The City is open to evaluating donation opportunities and we are looking into it,” the city responded on its Twitter account.
That response didn’t seem to put an end to concerns from people pointing out that the city routinely throws away tents, sleeping bags, food and once nearly killed a person who was sleeping in their tent by placing them into a garbage truck in 2018.