Bayview Merchants Hopeful Sunday Streets Will Bring Business

Merchants.jpgA block of predominantly female-owned businesses that will participate in Sunday Streets
It's been reported that the Fisherman's Wharf merchants who vocally opposed Sunday Streets along the Embarcadero last year now proclaim their support for the day and are programming numerous events to coincide with the street closures this Sunday. But merchants in Bayview never voiced concerns last year and this year they are preparing to capitalize on the car-free hours when the second of six Sunday Streets happens on May 10th.

Antoinette Mobley, Program Manager for the Bayview Business Resource Center and one of the key liaisons between the city and local merchants (she jokingly called herself the First Lady of Bayview), said that the Mayor's office had done a much better job this year with outreach to the businesses and stakeholders in Bayview, which she said will result in more local involvement in the event. She also hoped the attention brought to the neighborhood by Sunday Streets would prompt the community to host other events in the streets throughout the year.

"Our overarching goal is to make it a real fun family day for the Bayview community," said Mobley. "The more activities on the corridor, the better. This could even turn into a kick-off for street festival here in the Bayview.  We're one of the few, or maybe the only, corridors that doesn't do an annual street festival."

LaTanya Spears, owner of Trend Setters II, a women's apparel and style shop, said the primary benefit to her business will be advertising and outreach.  "We've been open half a year and a lot of people are still coming in and saying, 'I didn't know this was here.'  If you're driving by or riding the T-train, we kinda look closed, it's real dark in here."

Shamauda_Bishop.jpgShamauda Bishop, owner of Simply Fabulous

Scheduling the event on May 10th, Mother's Day, was the only point of contention for the neighborhood businesses.

Shamauda Bishop, owner of the Simply Fabulous hair salon, said she would have been happier with any day but Mother's Day.  "We wished it wasn't on Mother's Day.  In this black community, Mother's Day is the number one holiday, bigger than Christmas, New Year's,  Easter."  

She said despite the poor timing, she and other business owners were going to tailor their activities to the spirit of the day. 

"This year, I'm going to put my chair outside, and give free hair cuts to moms. I think I can do four or five, at least," she said, remarking that she isn't normally open on Sundays.  "I most definitely wouldn't be here on Mother's Day if it weren't for Sunday Streets."

Susan King, the Sunday Streets Project Manager for Livable City, said the improvement to the local economy is part of the focus of Sunday Streets.

"Each route that we do, we try to reach into neighborhoods that don't have a lot of open space and in addition create a steady stream of people who are out to patronize the local businesses.  This is one of stated goals, to connect under-served neighborhoods and [the Bayview] is a perfect example of it."

Wade Crowfoot, the Mayor's Director of Climate Initiatives and primary organizer for Sunday Streets, said that picking Mother's Day was a necessity, given that three of the five Sundays in May had San Francisco Giants games and the fourth was Carnaval.

BV_Opera_house.jpgBayview Opera House
"We've done a lot of community outreach focused on Mother's Day, come out and enjoy Sunday Streets with the family," said Crowfoot.  He said that while the day could have been more ideal, he was confident the event would be successful, that people would have time to enjoy the street after church or breakfast with their families.

The route will begin at AT&T Park and follow 3rd Street to its southern terminus at the Bayview Opera House, where organizers have planned performances and programming well after the street closures from 10 am to 2 pm.  A section of the route will connect with Heron's Head Park and India Basin Shoreline Park, which has a new environmental and community facility that organizers hope will get attention from Sunday Streets participants. The route was chosen in part to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Bay Trail.

Looking ahead, Crowfoot said the Mission Sunday Streets events are shaping up nicely.  The city is meeting with merchants from the Mission, where the June and July Sunday Streets will take place, and he thinks the route would likely happen on significant commercial corridors.

"We're hoping to use this as a calling card to get people excited about organizing more livable neighborhoods," he said.

Super_Save_parking_lot.jpgThis market will use its parking lot for events during Sunday Streets

Photos: Matthew Roth