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Bike Walk Alameda's Tilly Jane took this shot of Pacific and posted it on social media. Pacific is one of two streets to close under Alameda's 'slow streets' program
Bike Walk Alameda's Tilly Jane took this shot of Pacific and posted it on social media. Pacific is one of two streets to close under Alameda's 'slow streets' program

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Screen Shot 2021-06-29 at 3.19.18 PMOne example of how Streetsblog has made a difference in the Bay Area was our coverage of the Open Streets (or Slow Streets depending where you live) programs started during the early days of the pandemic and continuing into the future.

In the early days of the Stay at Home order, Streetsblog S.F. Editor Roger Rudick wrote pieces as Open Streets programs opened first in Oakland, but also in San Francisco and Alameda. Rudick explained the process by which Open Streets were picked and, when applicable, how communities could apply for their own program. He also amplified the process in Oakland, which became a national model for how to roll out an Open Streets program quickly.

As the programs matured, Rudick’s coverage shifted to showing how the programs were working and what changes could be made to make them work even better.

As the vaccine became more available, coverage shifted to protecting Open Streets programs as re-openings occurred. In March, Rudick amplified a letter by Tom Radulovich urging to “Keep Natoma Street Open” near the Salesforce Center and “Keep Minnesota Street Slow” in Dogpatch.

But being part of a statewide and national network means that Rudick doesn’t have to cover every angle of the issue himself. Earlier this month he published an op/ed by Charles Whitfield noting that just because a street is Slow, doesn’t mean it isn’t busy. Roger also read coverage of Open Streets throughout the country and brought some of the best stories to Streetsblog SF.

He brought in stories from Streetsblog California about state efforts to make Open Streets programs permanent and an “open thread” about how cities in California were winding down or expanding the program earlier this spring. Streetsblog Chicago wrote not just about Open Streets in Chicago but also the challenges that cities across the country faced in viewing the program through an equity lens and how Open Streets needed to be part of the economic recovery from COVID-19. Heck, Streetsblog Chicago even did an interview with OAKDOT’s Warren Logan about how Oakland kept equity at the forefront of its program. Streetfilms, the video arm of Streetsblog NYC and Streetsblog USA got in on the act with a film that heavily featured OAKDOT’s Ryan Russo explaining the city’s program.

Rudick saw to it that these stories had an audience in the Bay Area as well.

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