Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

I finally got a chance to check out one of the best new programs San Francisco has going: Sunday Streets. It's the program that Mayor Gavin Newsom started last year to encourage people to get out and exercise -- walk, bicycle, skateboard, roller blade, you name it -- on selected city streets that are closed to traffic on the first Sunday of the month. It's already been done along the Embarcadero and in the Mission. Today, Sunday Streets took place out in the western part of San Francisco -- on the Great Highway along the Pacific Ocean. All four lanes were closed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Golden Gate Park all the way to the San Francisco Zoo (where a furry penguin met us, see photo right).
We couldn't have asked for better weather. The day started out with a bit of fog that clung just along the beach, but it burned off by about noon. The temperature was in the mid 70s.
Now, there's nothing new about biking and walking along the Great Highway. There's a lovely path along the eastern side of it that's always very popular. But it was something else to actually bike down the middle of the road, the sand dunes and ocean to the west, the stretches of Sunset District houses to the east, along with thousands of other people. Musicians performed along the way and there were stands set up offering drinks, a bite to eat or a chance to chat with representatives from local nonprofits, such as the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, that encourages people to drive less and bike more.
With such gorgeous weather, most people hung out at the beach long after the highway reopened at 2 p.m. "Next time, let's keep Sunday Streets going until sunset," someone said. Yes. We've got the chance soon: the next Sunday Streets is scheduled for Sept. 6 and it's going to take place again along the same stretch of the Great Highway. Mark your calendars.

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