Thursday, April 8, 2010

SF Great Streets Launches Block Party Guide: First of Monthly Series of Tips for Transforming Streets

Last year's bike-themed block party in NOPA

Potlucks, kids play, neighbors mingling: all in the block party mix

The San Francisco Great Streets Project has given city residents a spring-time gift: a new guide with tips and tricks for how to throw a block party. With Sunday Streets fervor in our midst -- 9 open street celebrations this year, including one this Sunday on the Great Highway -- neighbors are starting to think about special events on their own blocks. This new party guide gets them started and introduces them to the formal process of applying for a permit in the friendliest of ways. The new four-page publication includes a nod to North Panhandle neighbors: several photos from NOPA's BIKE THE BLOCK party* last year are featured. Take a look at the guide here (it's a pdf document).

The party pamphlet is the first in a monthly series called the "Great Streets Guide" that will provide residents with the tools needed to transform local streets. The Great Streets program is already a crucial partner in San Francisco's "Pavement to Parks" program that recently installed the parklet on Divisadero in front of the Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Great Streets works with the SF Bicycle Coalition, the Livable Streets Initiative, SPUR, and PPS, the Project for Public Spaces. Kit Hodge, director of Great Streets, wrote in an email that she "sincerely hopes this guide will help clarify the process for people throughout San Francisco."

The new initiative focuses on block parties as essential building blocks for communities to experience the varied uses of our public spaces. As noted in the announcement, "Block parties are low-key and local, and they're a great opportunity to turn your street into a fun, safe play area for kids -- or anyone." Cindy Shamban, SFMTA administrator for special events and permits, is excited to have the new guide. "This will help people think about block parties in clear and concise ways. I hope it will help people get the most out of their events." The pamphlet is intended as a supplement to the official permit application process.

A word to wise party planners: the sooner you start planning your own block party, the lower the permit fee and the easier the process. Why not talk to your neighbors about it this weekend?

* If you're interested in a bike-themed block party, take a look at this BIKE NOPA post from last year.


  1. Hi Janna, it will be easier to discuss permit and block parties, if you email me directly at . The process is a little complicated.