My focus this morning has been on San Francisco and watching Team New Zealand win the first two races in the America’s Cup (bloody hell that first race was exciting). It has also got me thinking of an initiative that happens in San Francisco that I would love to see implemented here in Auckland – Sunday Streets. San Francisco didn’t invent the idea but they definitely appear to have embraced the idea. Here is how it is described:
Sunday Streets are events that encourage recreation, community activities and fun in San Francisco. Sunday Streets closes stretches of city streets to automobile traffic, and opens them to people for several hours on a various Sundays throughout the year, so participants can enjoy a large, temporary, public space where they can bike, walk, run, dance, do yoga, or do any other physical activity. Non-profit and health organizations offer free activities and share information about their services during the event.
The great thing about the idea is that it doesn’t have to cost huge amounts of money on permanent infrastructure. Some temporary road closures and staff to manage it but it is really just about making use of streets that already exist. Here’s a photo’s from San Francisco but there are heaps more here.
And here is a video from a few years ago of the event in San Fran.
In New York the idea is known as Summer Streets
While in the city that first came up with the idea 30 years ago – Bogatá, Columbia – it is known as Ciclovia. What is neat about the Bogatá ones is that they appear to be a network of routes and the focus is more of a case of just turning over the street to pedestrians and cyclists rather than the more festival style implementation in San Francisco.
About the closest thing we have had was an event in February 2012 called “Playing in the Streets” where a section of Queen St was closed down. But that was a one off and hasn’t been repeated. How neat would it be if we could do this on every Sunday during the summer months, perhaps each week could take place in a different local board area to ensure it is spread around the city rather than just be CBD focused.
So where would you like to see get the Sunday Street treatment?