I may be biased but I think Sunday Streets is about the best thing to ever happen to SF. This past Sunday was the kick-off for Sunday Streets in SF. The Embarcadero route is my favorite. I love the other routes too but I really like that the Embarcadero has wide and nicely paved streets. There are fewer stops. There’s plenty of street space for non-profit organizations or musicians. It’s close to the water. The view is amazing. There are palm trees and cool Bay breezes. It’s flat and there are tons of tourists. I think this last element is especially important. It seems critical to me that SF proves to visitors that we are focused on health while having fun as well as alternative modes of transportation.
The “Sunday Streets” movement is growing and has been for 30 years. Although it’s not a new idea, many parts of the country have never heard of it. The SS philosophy is as follows: “Sunday Streets is a series of events put on by the City of San Francisco to encourage health, community and fun, inspired by similar events in cities throughout the world. A Sunday Streets event creates a large, temporary, public space by closing off stretches of a neighborhood’s streets to automobile traffic, and opening them to pedestrians, bicyclists, and activities for several hours on a predetermined Sunday.”
Read more about SS here: About Sunday Streets in SF and its origin in Columbia. Or, the following bullets will give you the jist…
• Sunday Streets originated in Bogota, Colombia as Ciclovía, a day to promote free, health and community oriented events. 30 years after the first program, the concept has spread around the world from Tokyo, Japan to Kiev, Ukraine.
• “A quality city is not one that has great roads but one where a child can safely go anywhere on a bicycle.” Enrique Peñalosa, Former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia.
• Ciclovía, literally “bike path” in Spanish, is a ground-breaking event that started in Bogotá, Colombia. This weekly event draws more than 1.5 million people to walk, bike, skate and enjoy more than 70 miles of streets opened to people – and closed to automobile traffic – every week.
• Nearly 20% of this city’s population turns out every Sunday and holiday to participate in the 7 am to 2 pm event, which includes unparalleled free recreation and social opportunities, including dance and yoga lessons in the city’s streets and local parks.
• Bogotá has the distinction of hosting the biggest and longest-running Ciclovía in the world. Founded in 1976, it started small and grew in the 90′s under the Mayor and the Parks Director, Enrique and Guillermo Peñalosa. By 1996 it was recognized as the most important recreational activity in the country. The route was extended to 50 miles in 1997 and events to appeal to non-cyclists were added.
The weather varied for the event. For the most part, it was cool but sunny but there were times the fog/mild rain was more than a mist. I had a blast, of course. I love hearing people, say, “Hey! There’s Bubblegirl!” They recognize me from the 3 previous years I’ve been attending Sunday Streets, ever since it began in 2008 or perhaps other SF bike events. The kids are my favorite but I love the parents too—who are just big kids really. There were plenty of “oooohs” and “aaaaahs” and many smiles at “MY” weather event—100% bubble precipitation. 🙂
Most of my favorite bikey/skatey people also attended. The Godfather of Skating, David Miles was at the North end with free skate lessons. He’s also the founder of the famous Friday Night Skate or FNS which is a 12 mile loop around SF every Friday night and the grandmaster of the 6th Avenue Skating Place in Golden Gate Park. California Outdoor Rollerskating Association.
Deep was there with his Trikeasaurus, amazing beats and fun-loving spirit. It’s always a party when Deep’s around. Deep’s Flashdance.
And photographer, filmmaker, bboy and artist Beto was out on his old-school fixie. Beto Mooncricket Films.
But I’d have to say, Rock The Bike really stood out as an amazing contributor of WOW for the event.
They put in a major effort in creating a live-on-bike performance with the group Jazz Maffia. View this video for a taste of their awesomeness.
I also met a new friend, Sarah, who’s with Bike Salon. Their philosophy is as follows, “Bike Salon hosts experiences that empower women to choose bicycling as their main form of transportation. By mobilizing leaders in the community, we create livable cities and sustainable culture. Sarah is an artist who creates participatory experiences that empower women to be self sufficient, healthy and engaged through do-it-yourself lifestyle. We encourage women to choose bicycling as their main form of transportation.”
My GPS tallied up my day at 30 miles of smiles. 🙂 Thank you Sunday Streets!!