Kick Back at Sunday Streets in Bayview, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill

Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/geekstinkbreath/5827840618/sizes/z/in/photostream/##geekstinkbreath/Flickr##

July’s second Sunday Streets event returns to the Bayview, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill neighborhoods this weekend, running from Mission Bay to the Bayview Opera House.

For the third year in a row, the car-free event will connect with the Bayview Music Festival. Of course, there’s going to be a lot more happening all the way up the route as well.

The northern end of the route will be different this year — in Dogpatch, it will run on Mariposa Street to Terry Francois Boulevard, running along Mission Bay to Third and King Streets.

See you out there enjoying the sun.

  • And no worrying about the rails on Illinois, cause the route doesn’t take it.

  • voltairesmistress

    Offering Sunday Streets is akin to politicians kissing babies.  Makes people feel good but achieves nothing.  Worse, the multiple street fairs divert human resources and city money from effective measures — improving transit, biking, etc.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it would work in the Dogpatch/Bayview/Portrero Sunday Streets, but for the Mission one, don’t others think that they should extend the time into the evening — say 8 or 9pm — so that people can enjoy eating dinner during Sunday streets and restaurants can take advantage of the event to set up lots of outdoor seating? I think that would be really amazing and would give people an even better sense of the potential of car-free streets.

  • Anonymous

     I disagree. I think it serves a very valuable purpose in getting people to think outside the box on traffic and street usage. It demonstrates that the parking spots that are “lost” are not as crucial as some people pretend.

    As for the cost, sure, it’s not negligible– but then what’s the cost of putting in a new multi-acre park into a dense neighborhood? Tens of millions, if not billions (see: Transbay Terminal). Sunday Streets is a demonstration of how you can make a huge quality-of-life improvement at a very low cost, something which is very useful to know in this era of strained budgets.

    Even on the subject of improving biking– it brings out all sorts of novice bikers, both kids and adults, many of whom will probably be more likely to do it outside of Sunday Streets as well, which is one of the most important ways biking can be improved in the city.

  • voltairesmistress

     Well, baklazhan, I guess one person’s dog and pony show is another person’s teachable moment.

  • mikesonn

    Dog and pony show? Hm. You are definitely in the minority with that opinion. Have you been to the Mission event? It’s packed store front to store front.

  • Having a ban for a car in the street like this is cool idea, because the people there becomes freely taking their time talking with each other in the middle of the street.

  • voltairesmistress

    Yes, Mike, I know I probably hold a minority opinion about Sunday Streets being a waste of time and resources.  I tend to avoid most street fairs, which is what Sunday Streets is in my opinion — a glorified street fair with the added political aim of banishing automobile access in the future. I do think a lot of people avoid the affected areas, just as some others are actually drawn to them.  Once in a while, I just feel a need to express a contrarian point of view about a program I find full of platitudes. But, yes, amidst fellow supporters of improved transit, walking, and biking, my view on this is probably not widely held.

  • mikesonn

    You are entitled to your opinion, but it would be appreciated if you also supported it. A street fair is distasteful to you why? Though I would very much dispute your claim that Sunday Streets is a glorified street fair. Street fairs have booths taking up pretty much the entire roadway with beer gardens and food stands where Sunday Streets (while there are some stands) leaves a vast majority of the road open to people and allows the local businesses to get the business that would otherwise go to traveling small stands.

  • You tend to avoid most street fairs, but clearly the attendance at Sunday Streets in the Mission indicates that your opinion is not shared by a very large amount of people. The Sunday Streets in the Mission is a ridiculous amount of fun.

    And since the space is much larger than say, the Union Street Fair, there is room enough for me to plop my 3 year old out on the street on his bike and just let him ride it, pretty much as far as he wants to ride it, in an area that is 8 blocks from our house. There is no everyday equivalent for him anywhere near our place of residence.

    As for diverting city money, the increased consumption from locals and the dollars brought in from out of town, make a pretty good dent into the cost of the event. And if the event costs money… so does the Giants, SFMOMA, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco Symphony, etc…

    A lot of people enjoy Sunday Streets so I consider it a very good return on investment, and it reaches a lot of people who cannot afford to take advantage of things like the Symphony or Opera or other things the city subsidizes.

  • Don’t forget about this, guys: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2011/12/21/health-benefits-of-ciclovia-events-outweigh-costs/

  • voltairesmistress

    Hi Mike, you asked for back up to my opinion. My lack of affinity for street fairs is two-fold.  One reason is simply a matter of personal taste — I prefer relaxing in parks and am fine with using the sidewalk, not the street for accessing stores on foot.  Most of my trips are by foot or bike, but for big shops I like to use a car, and Sunday Streets can frustrate that.  The other reason is that Sunday Streets embodies a part of New Urbanism’s agenda I find less than compelling — banning automobile traffic from many streets.  I support just about every other aspect of changing and improving our street use and think transit funding is key to removing a lot of what would become unnecessary automobile trips.  But I find current anti-car sentiments out of touch with some pretty basic needs and desires people have for physical mobility.  We are no where near where we need to be in offering viable alternatives for in-city and cross-bay transportation. I would like to continue focusing on those solutions and not go all anti-car.  Again, I realize that’s probably not a majority view, at least in these parts . . .

  • mikesonn

    I think most of us here are pro-human, not anti-car. Framing the discussion can have a big impact on the course of said discussion.

  • voltairesmistress

     Mike, I agree that framing the issue is important to what gets discussed.  I don’t see all situations involving the mix (or not) of automobiles and humans as questions of being pro-human or not. I just like to remember that it is humans in those cars doing things a lot of humans find important.

    The challenge is to find a new and proper balance.  I think you and I would probably agree that the calculation in past decades was decidedly too pro-driver and anti-everybody else.  The resulting cityscapes turned into expressway/arterial/parking lot/strip mall  environment has been bad for us human beings by almost any measure — health, happiness, long term economic viability.

    In the ensuing exploration of what’s next, I expect to see a lot of experimentation.  For me, Sunday Streets is one of those experiments, and for me, blocking off miles of streets for a day or longer provides no blueprint for the future.

  • I think Sunday Streets is useful for a few reasons. Obviously there is the fact that we already devote so much precious urban space to cars that it nudges the scale slightly in the other direction if we let pedestrians and cyclists enjoy that space a few times year.

    I think more importantly it demonstrates that you can close down a street to private autos without the sky falling. Merchants will get as much, if not more business than before. It is a slow process but hopefully leads us down the path of restricting more streets to traffic which will make our streets friendly for pedestrians and cyclists while improving on-time transit performance due to the reduced congestion.

  • voltairesmistress

    Sean, I hope you are right.  I know I have enjoyed shopping in the pedestrian areas of  some European cities I’ve lived in or visited.  Seems like parts of the Union Square area might work a lot better as a no-car zone at least during daylight hours, and maybe a commercial strip in each of the neighborhoods.  As long, as you say, it is helping the merchants in the affected areas.

  • Anonymous

     @732c4803eb2e277d0054b17154744686:disqus wrote: “Most of my trips are by foot or bike, but for big shops I like to use a car, and Sunday Streets can frustrate that.”

    Agreed, but look at the argument from the other perspective: if you like to ride a bike or walk, *all* the days that aren’t Sunday Streets frustrate your efforts. Just about *every* single street in SF, like almost all US cities, is accessible to cars. If we want to give walking and cycling parity with cars, then there should be a lot of streets that are off-limits to cars, or at least which have 20 mph or slower speed limits, no parking, speed bumps, etc. There is no reason every single block of every single street needs to be car-accessible (or, at the very least, filled with free or subsidized on-street parking). Sunday Streets is just one attempt — and a tiny one at that — to level the playing field. For people to complain that trying to give a section of Valencia (that, mind you, is already one of the the most popular pedestrian and cycling corridors in the city) over to pedestrians 1% of the time (and only during the summer months) is simply irrational … or biased.

    For each time a motorist is “frustrated” trying to shop for furniture on Valencia St on that one Sunday a month during which Sunday Streets takes place, try to imagine all the pedestrians and cyclists frustrated all the other days of the year by motorists constantly risking their safety, polluting their air, and adding all kinds of noise into what otherwise would be a quiet environment. When you put things in perspective like this, there is no legitimate reason to complain about Sunday Streets; it is the *least* we can do for those road users who almost all other times play second fiddle to the almighty car.

  • voltairesmistress

     jd_x, you make a good argument against the noise and pollution of cars and against lawless or inconsiderate driving that endangers all other users.  But I guess what I’m arguing for is a much better coexistence of all users.  With dedicated pedestrian and bike areas, one eliminates most dangerous contacts.  With pocket parks and seating areas and trees, one calms the environment. It’s all about co-usage, not prohibition of any single type of user.

    Sunday Streets is, for me, a typically over-the-top, all or nothing American response to conflict.  Third Street is unsafe 364 days of the year for bicyclists and unpleasant for pedestrians.  The response: “Ban cars from Dogpatch/Bayview for a day!”  Great, an urban asphalt park is created without a trace of practicality for the rest of year’s needs.  As though sitting in one’s lawn chair on the pavement presents vision of how the street should function or look the rest of the year.

    How about agitating to redesign that whole street for multi-modal use 364 days a year?  The proposition that Sunday Streets inserts that vision into the minds of a public suffering false auto-centric consciousness is absurd.

  • mikesonn

    You act like the two things (Sunday Streets and providing multi-modal design) are mutually exclusive. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

    And Third Street was just redesigned w/ the T-Third Light Rail not that long ago. Just think if Sunday Streets was going on before then, I’d wager the final design would have been different.

    “Sunday Streets is, for me, a typically over-the-top, all or nothing American response to conflict. ”

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on highways…

  • Walking around my Dogpatch neigborhood this weekend gave me a fresh perspective of the space around me.  The parked cars were gone and I wasn’t biking/driving, so the streets felt so much bigger, even with pop-up tents and activities.  Walking down the middle of the street without the usual tension from walking or biking in traffic felt almost transgressive.

    I think exposing people to alternatives to standard streets is very important to changing the street-use culture. 

    Plus: it’s fun!

  • How do you feel about driving on Valencia with the traffic lights timed to a casual bike speed?  It’s not a one-time thing, but it is a one-street thing.  Is that frustrating?

  • kexiao

    tinyurl.com/cyk9xz2

  • kexiao

    tinyurl.com/cyk9xz2