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Livable Streets Expert Enrique Peñalosa Comes to San Francisco

San Francisco's livable streets advocates have a chance to participate in a public forum tomorrow with Enrique Peñalosa, who, as mayor of traffic-clogged Bogotá, Colombia, implemented a s⁞weeping set of improvements to transit and the pedestrian realm.

bogota_plaza.jpgA public plaza in Bogotá, Columbia.

These initiatives include the Ciclovia, a model for San Francisco's own Sunday Streets program, and an expansive Bus Rapid Transit system, which is viewed as a gold standard and a template for other cities considering BRT. His vision for the world's largest cities includes more public spaces, extensive networks of bike paths, greater pedestrian facilities and improved transit.

The forum, entitled "Sunday Streets to Great Streets", is part of the public launch of the San Francisco Great Streets Project (GSP), a campaign led by the SFBC and SPUR. The GSP is intended to catalyze the return of San Francisco's streets to the center of civic life by working with government, business and neighborhood leaders to test, analyze and institutionalize placemaking.

Peñalosa's visit represents the GSP making good on one of its three principles: to bring experts from around the country and around the world to demonstrate best practice examples and offer instructive advice to San Franciscans. The visit follows closely on the opening of the 17th Street pedestrian plaza, which fulfilled the GSP's second principal: to help organize communities around trial projects on the ground that test livable streets ideas.

Despite recent positive developments such as the 17th Street plaza and the successful launch of Sunday Streets, many of San Francisco's streets still have much room for improvement, and tomorrow's forum will be a chance to discuss this with someone who made major strides in a city that started with public spaces in far worse condition than San Francisco's. Check out some of Streetsfilms' classic films on Peñalosa, and be sure to come tomorrow if you can!

Sunday Streets to Great Streets: Enrique Peñalosa. Tuesday, July 7, 2009 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Public Library (100 Larkin Street).

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