Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sunday Streets in 2010 to Include NOPA?

Western Addition neighborhoods will be included in the hugely popular “Sunday Streets” next year, according to Susan King, Sunday Streets Coordinator for Livable City. Final details on the routes and dates for the livable streets celebration are set to be announced sometime before the Thanksgiving Day holiday, if not sooner.

Just two years ago route selection for Sunday Streets came down to the streets of least resistance with merchants fearing loss of revenue if their commercial corridors were closed to traffic or, as livability advocates prefer to say, streets open to people. But now Fisherman Wharf and Mission district proprietors compete to get their blocks placed on the special routes.

Mayor Gavin Newsom proclaimed Sunday Streets a permanent facet of San Francisco summers early in September. He announced that 2010 will see “more routes, longer hours, more San Francisco neighborhoods, and more programs.” The Municipal Transportation Authority (MTA) will serve as the lead agency of the program while Livable City, the non-profit transportation sustainability group, will provide a perhaps larger role with managing the multiple-street event.

A route through the Western Addition was considered for the 2009 Sunday Streets celebrations, but other districts – the Mission, the Bayview, and Golden Gate Park/Great Highway -- received the nod instead. Next year expect the Western Addition as well as the Tenderloin to be in the mix.

Will NOPA streets be on the Western Addition route? Too early to say. The routes are decided by MTA staff with input from a Steering Committee of several organizations. Susan King of Livable City added, "Route selection is determined by a number of factors, including community input." Choosing a continuous car-free route for walking, biking, and playing is a complicated undertaking in this city of street fairs, music festivals, and marathons to say nothing of building and street construction. But King notes, “It makes sense to go where the community wants it, if factors such as other events, MUNI lines, and street conditions can be worked around."

Following NOPA's well-received BIKE THE BLOCK party last month, several neighbors suggested a repeat next year and a few hoped Sunday Streets would find its way to NOPA as well. NOPA residents who would like San Francisco's newest fun and sustainable tradition to travel through this part of town should express their support and ideas to the NOPNA Board of Directors at board@nopna.org and write "Sunday Streets" as the subject line. The Board will forward comments and perhaps its own recommendation to Livable City.

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