Sunday Streets kicked off last month, along the Embarcadero, to a slightly soggy start. However, this month’s event, Penguins to Penguins–the route of roads blocked to car traffic stretches from the penguins at the California Academy of Sciences, along JFK Drive to the Great Highway and over to Sloat Drive and the zoo, where the other penguins live–is anticipated to be nice and dry.
A remnant of Gavin Newsom’s mayoral legacy, Sunday Streets started in 2008 with two events, connecting Chinatown to the Bayview for a scattering of participants. Now, there are 10 Sunday Streets held throughout San Francisco.
The prototype for San Francisco’s Sunday Streets started in Bogota, Colombia over 30 years ago. Ciclovia started primarily as an event for bicyclists, but as it grew in popularity, events for non-cyclists were added, attracting new people to the Ciclovia, resulting in a world record being set, with 37,000 people performing aerobics on one stage at once.
While the number of Sunday Streets attendants doesn’t quite reach Bogota levels–fewer than five percent of San Franciscans get involved—members of the California Outdoor Rollersports Association will attempt to set their own world record by organizing the Guiness Book’s longest chain of roller skaters with a chain of 300 skaters, shuffling hand to hip down JFK Drive.
Beyond the outdoor activity, Sunday Streets is the perfect opportunity to explore a new neighborhood or reconnect with a part of the city you haven’t seen for months or years.
Future events include routes through the Mission, Bayview, and Western Addition, and a route through Chinatown and North Beach was added this year.