More Streets to Play On in San Francisco Next Year

By Christian Watjen
Christian Watjen
Christian Watjen
December 5, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO—The popular car-free street event Sunday Streets will launch a new program next year to help kids get out and get moving.

“Play Streets for All is a simple, straightforward solution that will help make more of our streets available for kids of all ages to enjoy in safe, fun, and healthy ways,” said Ed Reiskin, director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), one of the hosting organizations, in a press release.

Sunday Streets is San Francisco’s answer to a worldwide movement of creating car-free open spaces in cities to entice residents to cycle and walk more. The idea is to provide area residents a safe, enjoyable space to get active and build community. 

Having successfully run 36 events around the city since 2008, Sunday Streets is will launch a pilot program of the new initiative Play Streets for All next year. This project will specifically target children in underserved communities where obesity is rampant. The program offers events, such as nutrition education and fun, physical activities. To further encourage healthy choices, the sites will not allow vending or alcohol on the Play Streets for All locations.

Play Streets for All is a collaboration between SFMTA, health care providers, and Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), a nationwide nonprofit working to combat childhood obesity. It is part of a national campaign to reduce obesity rates and increase physical activity. 

Sunday Streets programs can be expensive and complex because they require miles of roads to be closed off. Play Streets for All is meant to be a more simple, inexpensive, DIY approach. 

Play Streets for All will be implemented in low-traffic residential neighborhoods in one or two block sections. The partnering organizations will provide workshops and collaboration with local community groups. The plan is that neighborhoods will eventually be able to host Play Streets for All events themselves.

“We can’t wait to see the initiative in action—to see kids running around these new spaces and to hear sounds of traffic replaced by sounds of kids at play,” said PHA President and CEO Lawrence A. Soler.

San Francisco is one of ten cities that have been chosen for the national program. The exact neighborhoods and dates will be announced next January, SF Streetsblogs reported.

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