Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Streets in Bayview

photo by Rhonda Winter

Sunday Streets, the Columbian import that closes city streets so residents can get exercise and recreation, visited Bayview again for the program's second season.

Bayview residents who attended the last two Sundays' events were hard to come by. Two such residents reported positive experiences. One resident, who is also a bicycle advocate, said, "Both days were most splendid and festive."

Kristine Enea, a Bayview Hunters Point and India Basin community leader, said that these events are remarkable for the diversity of participants in the neighborhood, regardless of the turnout.

"Sunday Streets in Bayview last fall," Enea said, "turned out a great mix of Bayview locals, friends from other neighborhoods, and visitors from as far away as Florida. The Bayview Opera House was the key attraction with something for everyone - tai chi demonstrations, the Bike Kitchen, non-profit outreach tables and an inflatable jumpy house. This year's event adds a sidetrip to Heron's Head Park and a roller disco at Third & Galvez."

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, working to create inroads into the Bayview Hunters Point Community, were out in full force, and could be credited with much of the turnout. The organization gave Sunday Streets its Golden Wheel award, and created a video that offers an upbeat review of the event.

Community organizers in the neighborhood forced smiles onto their faces as they were "plugged in" to help market the City's program rather than being involved in shaping the Bayview component of Sunday Streets. The routes and other aspects of the program once again were set by an intragovernmental body, leaving the search for community investment to marketing and outreach strategies.

Government organizers, hamstrung by dwindling resources, seem to believe that the program will be buoyed on the strength of the program concept itself. They may be right. San Franciscans, historically, have gravitated toward outdoor recreation. And the trend toward all things "sustainable and green" could pedal, roll, walk and run Sunday Streets to greater success.

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