On an incredible spring day with temperatures in the 60s, thousands of people descended on the Embarcadero in San Francisco for the first Sunday Streets of 2010, riding, skating, dancing, hula hooping, and swinging in the coolest bicycle-powered amusement park ride I’ve ever seen.
With over three miles of the northbound lanes of the Embarcadero closed to cars, San Franciscans of all stripes flocked to the typically touristic confines of Fisherman’s Wharf for a Family Fun Fair hosted by the merchants, including the bicycle powered Cyclecide carnival, a rock climbing wall, and a number of other free events.
Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District (FWCBD) Executive Director Kevin Carroll marveled at the nice day and said that events like Sunday Streets are important to show locals that "there are things you can come down and enjoy the rest of the year" at California’s second largest tourist attraction (behind Disneyland).
Carroll said his merchants had assembled gift bags with promotional materials meant to draw locals back to the district after the events and said they were monitoring who attended by getting feedback. At last year’s Sunday Streets event at Fisherman’s Wharf, Carroll told Streetsblog, more than two-thirds of visitors were local San Franciscans.
This year’s series of Sunday Streets events has been spearheaded by the MTA, which co-organizers like Livable City said makes the events run much more smoothly. MTA Spokesperson Judson True, who told me that he made the Embarcadero route a piece of a three-hour bike ride throughout the city yesterday, was very encouraged by the street "closure."
"This was a terrific start to the Sunday Streets season," said True. "The credit goes to the tremendous team of volunteers, all the city staff and personnel and to everyone who came out on a gorgeous day to enjoy the best of what San Francisco has to offer."
Added True: "A newspaper headline Saturday said that the Embarcadero would be closed for Sunday Streets. Of course it was the opposite–the street was full of people enjoying this great public space."
When asked how he take measure of the day, FWCBD’s Carroll said, "If we’re seeing families and kids and people having fun, and enjoying
the day, to me that is successful."
As the following pictures demonstrate, it was a success indeed: