Sunday Streets season kicks off at Embarcadero

Casually walking or biking in the middle of the street doesn’t seem like the best idea, especially in San Francisco, unless you’re attending Sunday Streets.

The City of San Francisco started a free event called Sunday Streets in 2008. It is where a neighborhood is temporarily close on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday Streets occurs once or twice a month in neighborhoods from Bayview Hunter’s Point to Golden Gate Park. Participants are encouraged to walk, bike and roller skate throughout the entire street to experience the neighborhood, different vendors and activities.

This Sunday at the Embarcadero is the Season kick off for the 2012 Sunday Streets. Volunteers, venders and guests will be welcomed with a rock climbing wall, Segway obstacle course and Zumba classes at Fisherman’s Warf. Pier 39 will have live music, an inflatable obstacle course, basketball toss, kite lessons and roller disco. Rin Tin Tiger will be performing at Pier 7. Harry Bridges Plaza will have free bike tune ups, free bike rentals, an interactive watershed activity, an eco area and many more. At Rincon Park, Cupid’s Arrow, there will be  a chalk drawing activity, purusha yoga, play walks and a magic show. A host of other activities will be held at Embarcadero at Bryant, South Beach Park, China Basin.

Neighborhood business undoubtedly benefit from the foot traffic, while other businesses that choose to volunteer feel rewarded in a different way.

“We really enjoyed it, we feel more involved in the community. It’s better than paying to get our logo out there, it’s a good marketing tool and a lot of fun. And creating more bike riders was the best,” said Brian Popplewell from Mike’s Bikes.

According to the Sunday Streets website, the goal is to offer a model of how cities can design healthy, environmentally friendly outdoor activities for residents.

With over 200,000 Bay Area residents attending last year, the hope is to be as successful.

“We have a lot of community support. Last year, Mayor Ed Lee wanted to add a ninth event, we added Chinatown/North Beach and this year we added Excelsior,” said Program Manager of Sunday Streets Beth Byrne.

The idea for Sunday Streets originated in Bogota, Columbia. Known as Ciclovía, the event was a day to promote free, health and community oriented events. The program has been adopted in Tokyo, Japan and to Kiev, Ukraine.

Last year, while Bryne was trying to contact businesses such as yoga and martial arts studios, Mike’s Bikes was looking for ways to get the word out about bikes.

“Creating more bike riders is what I saw. Helping and educating people about ourselves ad bikes was great. I don’t look at it as work,” said Popplewell.

Many businesses that volunteer their time and equipment will also be at some of the other Sunday Streets events. Mike’s Bikes will not only be at the Embarcadero this Sunday, but will be in at the July 1st, the August 5th and September 9th events.

Sunday Streets 2012 Season Schedule (subject to change):

·       March 11: Embarcadero- Season kick off

·       April 15: Great Highway/Golden Gate park- new route through the park

·       May 6: Mission

·       June 3: Mission

·       July 1: Mission

·       July 22: Bayview/Dogpatch

·       August 5: Mission

·       August TBA: Chinatown

·       September 9: Western Addition/N. Panhandle Alamo Square

·       October 21: Outer Mission/Excelsior

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