| Sunday Streets Event Rocks the Mission
By Jonathan Farrell Jun 13, 2009
Sunday Streets creates a safe, fun, car-free place for people to get out and get active in San Francisco neighborhoods. Last year’s two events drew more than 15,000 people.
Sunday Streets coordinators Susan King and Cheryl Brinkman of the nonprofit Livable City spoke briefly at the Mission Station community meeting on May 26 at the invitation of Capt. Stephen Tacchini.
The community room at SFPD’s Mission Station that Tuesday evening was overflowing. Most were there for other concerns. Yet all seemed pleased to hear that another neighborhood event is being planned, especially upon the heels of Carnaval celebration.
Capt. Tacchini mentioned that Carnaval this year went very well with only a few small incidents that were easily maintained. He welcomed the Sunday Streets event idea.
King explained Sunday Streets, opens the streets to San Franciscans to explore four different neighborhoods and participate in a wide variety of activities, including dancing, biking, skating, walking, hula hoop, yoga, and just people watching.
This concept of Sunday Streets which originated from Bogota, Colombia has been implemented in other major cities such as New York City and Chicago.
King explained, "It’s not a carnaval, or a street fair with clouds of barbecue smoke billowing around from food vendors. This event simply turns the street into a park, allowing people to get out and enjoy the neighborhood without cars; to walk around, bicycle, skate and move about at a leisurely pace," she added.
“With the overwhelming positive response from last year (which had only two Sundays) we are planning six Sundays this year,” said Brinkman.
Brinkman also mentioned that the Sunday Street events do not have vendors on the street but encourage participants to visit local merchants and restaurants while walking, biking or skating in the neighborhood. "So far, restaurants (from last year) said that they were filled and busy."
Upcoming Sunday Streets Dates planned for the Mission District are June 7, July 19, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The event route for both Sundays will be from Dolores Park at 19th Street, continuing along Valencia to 24th Street. The route will move along 24th Street past Harrison to Rolph Playground at York & 26th streets. A map was handed out which was printed in both Spanish and English.
People at the Mission Station meeting were receptive and applauded the idea. Yet, some residents expressed concerns of how the closing of streets for the 2 mile long route with over 24 intersections will impact people who live along the planned route area.
Brinkman said she was confident that all would work out well since last year’s event had no incidents or problems. “Parking Control Officers along with lots of trained volunteers will help to direct traffic,” she said. She reassured the audience that residents would have access to get in and out of their homes during the four-hour event.
Mission Resident Tom Mayer told the Mission Dispatch he thought announcements and notices to the community about this event and its “stakeholders” meeting were not publicized enough.
The Mission Dispatch received notice of the May 26 meeting only hours before it began at 6 p.m. Mayer was not able to attend because there was not enough time. Yet he did attend the stakeholders meeting on May 11.
He thought the attendance at the Brava Theater for that meeting was “a pathetic turnout.” Mayer claims he did not get word of the May 11th meeting via email until about 10 days before. “That didn't give anyone a chance to attend the meeting,” said Mayer.
About a dozen folks from various Mission neighborhoods attended the first Mission Stakeholder meeting on May 11th at the Brava Theater.
That Monday morning meeting at 11 a.m. included residents and reps from the 24th Street merchants and others. City representatives in attendance included Dan Homsey, Alex Randolf and Alfredo Pedroza from the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services, Cindy Shamban of Dept. of Parking & Traffic, Martha Cohen of Mayor's Office for special events, Sgt Nestor, SFPD Traffic Division and Sgt. McDowell of Mission Station SFPD.
Sunday Streets program coordinators Ben Caldwell Cheryl Brinkman and Susan King were there to explain the purpose of the event.
Brinkman and King said that they are and will continue to notify everyone in the neighborhoods about the Sunday Street event plans. More meetings will be announced as the July 19 event has less than a month to prepare.
Organizers hope more input from the community will help, as volunteers will also be needed.
These Sunday events, unlike the marathons and concerts are made up of local people and are very family friendly. Corporate sponsors, such as the SF Examiner, PG&E, Blue Shied of California and Kaiser-Permanente fund Sunday Street events. Private foundations such as The Hellman Family Foundation among others also contribute.
For more information visit: www.sundaystreetssf.com or call: 415-554-6131.
1 of 1
This article has been placed in the category(s) below: