Last Sunday morning thousands of San Franciscans converged on a four and a half mile strip of waterfront roadway. No, they weren't protesting. Instead they were celebrating the first ever Sunday Streets, an initiative dreamed up by Mayor Gavin Newsom. The event closed a roadway running from Chinatown to Bayview, both areas of the city with minimal open space. Along the strip people stopped to hop in on a yoga class, learn salsa dancing, and even jump rope.
In the city, playing in the streets is a novelty. Even in San Francisco, home to the beautiful Golden Gate Park, many neighborhoods lack any substantial amount of outdoors space. Sunday Streets brought people together to celebrate the city's opening of a usually car-packed place to make room for play. Along the route people could be found strolling, hula hooping, sun saluting and even breakdancing. Some were even running the bases at the SF Giants' AT&T; park.
Mayor Newsom founded Sunday Streets after he was inspired by similar street closures in Columbia, Portland, New York City and even Istanbul. During the city's first try at the event he was spotted jogging with his wife down the busy street, stopping to dance salsa around the way.
The first Sunday Streets was a success, with people from across the city literally dancing in the streets. Maybe the next Sunday Streets on September 14th, will move San Francisco closer to the real deal: permanently banning cars from Market Street, a major city road.