Editor’s note: Today we welcome Andrew Boone, co-founder of the Peninsula Transportation Alternatives Blog, as our new reporter providing coverage in San Mateo County.
In its fourth year, 16 cities in San Mateo County will take part in this weekend’s Streets Alive! Parks Alive!, an event aimed at getting people outdoors with programmed activities. While most of the events will be held in parks, a few blocks in Millbrae and Burlingame will be temporarily closed to car traffic and opened up for people to walk, bike, skate, dance, and socialize.
“Streets Alive!” was initiated by SM County Supervisor Carole Groom in 2010 as a way to promote community and physical activity, and the event has grown from an initial ten cities to 16 this year. “Parks Alive!” was added to the event’s name in 2012 — and it’s more accurate, given that the event mostly takes place in parks, unlike popular “Ciclovia”-style events such as San Francisco’s Sunday Streets, which are held primarily on the public right-of-way and have spread to hundreds of cities around the world.
Eric Pawlowsky, an aide for Supervisor Groom who helps organize the events, said the relative cost of closing longer sections of urban streets to car traffic has limited cities’ ability to expand beyond park space. Still, he argued that the three blocks in Millbrae and one block in Burlingame that will be opened up for people for Streets Alive! in the spread-out suburbs is substantial. “We don’t define length of street closure as a factor of success,” he said. “Even closing just one or two blocks, when you look at it in terms of square footage, that’s a park.”
Cities will be holding myriad activities coordinated with other ongoing events, from Zumba, Tai Chi, and Hula at the Belmont Farmer’s Market, to riding in an outrigger canoe at Foster City’s Polynesian Festival, to free bike tune-ups from REI at the Pulgas Water Temple at the weekly “Bicycle Sunday” event on Cañada Road.
Check out a map of activities for “Streets Alive! Parks Alive!” throughout the county after the break.