The increasingly popular Sunday Streets program kicks off again with a full season of open street events in various neighborhoods throughout the city. The 2012 Sunday Streets debut was March 11 along the Embarcadero, with ten more events planned over the next eight months. These events open select roadways to bicyclists, pedestrians, families, street performances, musicians, local businesses and vendors, charities—the list goes on— by temporarily removing vehicle traffic, and they transform the street space into community and recreational centers for the tens of thousands of participants that they draw.
The inaugural season in 2008, Sunday Streets has grown from two events per year to ten and creates miles of car-free space for everyone to enjoy safely. San Francisco was the third city in the United States to premier this free, community-oriented initiative— and idea originating in Bogota, Colombia to promote free health- and community-oriented events. A weekly event in Bogota, it draws more than 1.5 million people to walk and bike on over 70 miles of opened streets through the city’s diverse neighborhoods.
San Francisco has reaped similar benefits in its 3 year tenure of Sunday Streets, according to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “The Sunday Streets program has a tremendous impact on San Franciscans and visitors alike, who have started to envision the streets in a whole new way; not just as a means to get from place to place, but as an opportunity to create a healthier, more connected City for all.”
A program like Sunday Streets could find incredible success in a community like Sacramento, especially in the downtown core where there is already very little weekend traffic. A collective effort between community members, advocates, city officials and police could see this kind of healthy and community-oriented event to fruition.
The next Sunday Streets is scheduled for April 15 on the Great Highway/Golden Gate Park. Visit http://www.sundaystreetssf.com to see the schedule and find out more!