San Francisco Kroc Center – a Hidden Gem

lsSunday Streets wrapped up our Tenderloin community meetings last night with one final opportunity to talk shop about this weekend’s event.  We’ve had the pleasure of sharing the room with people doing a variety of work in the neighborhood, and it has been inspiring to hear about the changes they are making on a daily basis. The Tenderloin Healthy Corner Store Coalition has been working to launch the Grand Opening of Radman’s Produce Market in conjunction with Sunday Streets. It’s very exciting to share the day with such a historical moment for the neighborhood, and we are proud to have watched this coalition in action as they plan for their launch. They have not only coordinated the store opening and organized activities to fill the space outside Radman’s, but they have also helped us with outreach to neighbors and businesses informing them of the event!

There are so many amazing organizations doing great work in this community. I wish I had the time to give them all the recognition that they deserve, but I do want to put some focus on the San Francisco Kroc Center (240 Turk Street). I have walked past it a zillion times and until Eva Borrego reached out to us to offer the Center as a meeting space I had never even imagined what was inside. Along with a robust fitness center, pool, computer lab, children’s library, and class space for yoga, zumba and other fitness opportunities, the Center houses after school programs for youth and a robust senior program! There are not only organized activities for seniors who are interested in socializing, but also meals served for just $1.50 per day. Check out this video to see more of what the Kroc Center has to offer. It really is a hidden gem in the Tenderloin.

The Kroc Center will be open for tours this Sunday during Sunday Streets. They will be giving guided tours every hour on the hour, so be sure to stop by and check it out!

 

Be a Super-Volunteer!

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We appreciate our dedicated volunteers who go above and beyond to make Sunday Streets possible. Volunteers who help out with least six of this year’s Sunday Streets events you will receive a special thank you gift! Last year’s volunteers received snazzy Sunday Streets messenger bags. Click on the “Get Involved” tab above to sign up to volunteer at the next Sunday Streets!

Volunteer Perk: Banh Mi Sandwiches at Sunday Streets Tenderloin

 

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At every Sunday Streets event our hard-working volunteers are treated to a free lunch provided by a different local restaurant. For our Tenderloin event on April 13th our volunteers will be enjoying Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches from Turtle Tower SF. Turtle Tower serves authentic Ha Noi style Vietnamese food at three locations in the Tenderloin, SoMa, and Outer Richmond.  Sunday Streets volunteers will have their choice of grilled pork, grilled chicken, or tofu sandwiches. Want a delicious lunch on us? Sign up to volunteer with Sunday Streets today!

Walk to Work Day Upon Us, Be Safe on the Streets!

written by Mary Jessup

As a San Francisco native, I love walking in the City. It’s fun to travel on foot, enjoying the fresh breeze, the sky, and the crowds of citizens and tourists. I like the sunny days, I like the rainy days. Stepping feels good in my body. Strolling is super exercise, and it helps us think, too.

“I love to walk, especially when I have things to think over,” said French policeman, Chief Superintendent Maigret.[1]

In 2013, there were 21 pedestrian deaths in San Francisco, and numerous pedestrians were robbed or injured. And so, as a citizen concerned with everyone’s safety, I want to share my safe-walking strategies.

To avoid being hit by a car, I wear something bright, such as a red scarf, so drivers notice me. I wear sturdy black brogues, which keep me balanced and steady on my feet. These shoes help me hike fast, and they would enable me to run away fast, in the event of an emergency. For additional safety, I tie the shoelaces tight with a double knot. I never wear or carry anything with a designer label that could mark me, and attract the attention of a fence (a person who steals and sells stolen property). I travel light – my tote, plus a book, or a small shopping bag of groceries.

When ambling along, or riding public transportation, I never use my phone; instead, it always stays in my tote until I arrive home. Thus I’m free to pay 100 percent attention to my surroundings – this is one of the keys to pedestrian safety.

At the corner, I wait for the traffic light to change to green, and before trekking across the street, I look all around. I stay in the designated crosswalk, and avoid jay walking. If a car is illegally inching into the crosswalk, I keep my eyes on the driver, which encourages her to make a full stop.

“The top cause of serious injury and death in collusions is actually speeding, not distracted walkers,” according to Walk San Francisco’s Natalie Burdick. “When someone is hit by a car traveling 40 MPH, she has only a 25 percent chance of surviving. However, if a car going 25 MPH hits that same person, her odds of surviving increase to over 90 percent! That’s why traffic-calming measures, like lower speed limits, road diets (lane reduction), and `bulb-outs’ (curb extensions), make it safer for everyone, whether they’re walking, bicycling, or driving.”

While traveling down the street I constantly scan the horizon, without looking directly at people. When someone is striding toward me on the same pathway, I make sure to move over to give her plenty of room; and I mind my own business.

I keep my tote closed and zipped. In my tote I lug the usual stuff, except I do not carry my passport or social security card. I do not carry much cash, just the amount I need for a day. For added security, I carry enough extra cash to be able to hop in a cab if necessary, and pay my fare. Still, I select walking, so I can think.

“I suggested a taxi, but Hercule Poirot shook his head.

“`I have need to think, my friend. Walking aids me.’

“I said no more.”[2]

Walking feels wonderful, because I have planned and prepared for safety. My simple practices provide for simple pleasures – safe, worry-free treading in San Francisco, or anywhere in the world.

Natalie Burdick says, “Especially on Walk to Work Day, April 11 – when pedestrians can enjoy FREE coffee, and Clif Bars or other breakfast snacks, by stopping by one of the hubs across the City where Walk San Francisco volunteers will be giving out Clipper Cards, reusable totes, and `I Walk SF’ decals to encourage the healthiest, most sustainable form of transportation: walking. You can learn more at walk2workday.org, and win drawing prizes when you follow Walk SF on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and use the #walk2work hashtag.”

To sum the points for safe perambulating:

  • Wear bright-colored clothes, and sturdy shoes
  • Avoid designer labels and designer purses
  • Move fast, and travel light
  • Put away your phone and devices
  • Be alert, and pay attention to your surroundings
  • Wait for the green light
  • Stay in the crosswalk when crossing the street, and watch for cars

Wishing you safe and happy walking!

 

Caution Llamas crossing

 

A resident of San Francisco, Mary Jessup is a writer, speaker, world citizen, and Sunday Streets volunteer. Mary can be reached at mjessup727@gmail.com, at LinkedIn: maryjessup, and Twitter: @mjessup727.

 

Notes

1. Georges Simenon, Maigret and the Yellow Dog, translated by Linda Asher (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987, 1940, 1936), p. 96. Chief Superintendent Maigret is Simenon’s fictional policeman.

2. Agatha Christie, Thirteen at Dinner (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1960, 1933), p. 225. The English title is Lord Edgware Dies. Hercule Poirot is Christie’s fictional detective.

Volunteer Perk: City CarShare Discount and Driving Credits

When you show your love for Sunday Streets, City CarShare will show some love for you! City CarShare is giving Sunday Streets volunteers a discount on the application fee and $20 in diving credits (a $35 value) for any new City CarShare Share account from now until December 2014. Volunteer to get the special promo code! (Already volunteered and want this secret code? Email liza@livablecity.org).

Adopt an Intersection

Ready to sign up? Fill out the group volunteer sign up form or email volunteer@livablecity.org. Or download this page as a pdf to share.

Sunday Streets’ new Adopt an Intersection program is a way for volunteer teams, community service groups, non-profit organizations, and community groups to participate in Sunday Streets. You’ll have the chance to promote your group to the tens of thousands of people who attend Sunday Streets, in exchange for helping us keep everyone safe and happy at the event.

Sunday Streets wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of volunteers who donate their time and energy each year. The Adopt an Intersection program is a new way for groups to volunteer and support Sunday Streets, while getting a little love in return.

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Ensure safety: monitor people traffic at your intersection

Sunday Streets is car-free, but at select intersections, vehicle traffic is allowed to cross the Sunday Streets route. People biking, walking, skating, and doing their Sunday Streets thing must stop at red lights to allow the drivers to cross. City traffic safety officers (PCO’s) will control vehicle traffic. Volunteers like you help ensure everyone is safe by slowing and stopping Sunday Streets people traffic at red lights.

Promote your organization and spread a little joy

This is your chance to promote your group to the tens of thousands of people who attend Sunday Streets! The more exciting you make your intersection, the more attention you’ll get (and the more success you’ll have stopping people at red lights). You may not set up a tent, but you can set up a table, banners/signs/balloons, dance, dress up, etc. As long as you leave space for people to freely travel through the street and do not block or disturb a neighboring business, the intersection is yours to activate!

Please do not sell or fundraise, however you can sign people up or your newsletter, sign petitions, pass out flyers, and generally talk up your organization.

The fine print and details…

Who: Your group must be able to provide enough volunteers to safely control people-traffic at your intersection. This is a minimum of four volunteers at all times (two on each side of the intersection). Plus, you’ll want few other people to promote your group because your traffic safety volunteers will have their hands full. We recommend a group of about eight people, but you are welcome to assign other shifts as you see fit.

When: Your group will be responsible for your intersection for the entire day, from setup at 10:30 a.m. until the streets reopen to vehicle traffic at 4:15 p.m. Sunday Streets events are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

You can sign up for one event this year, or every event. There are nine Sunday Streets throughout the year: March 9, April 13, May 5, June 8, July 13, August 24, September 14, September 28, October 19.

What we provide:

You bring the fun and joy, we’ll provide the rest! We’ll provide al the materials you’ll need to control the people-traffic at your intersection, including: safety vests, stop signs, and bright orange volunteer t-shirts. Additionally, we’ll give you eight coupons for a free at tasty lunch at a nearby food-truck or restaurant that you can distribute among your team.

Orientation:

We will meet with at least one member of your group in the weeks before Sunday Streets to go over how to ensure safety and control people traffic at your intersection, help you brainstorm ways to make it awesome, and answer any questions you may have.

Ready to sign up? Fill out the group volunteer sign up form or email volunteer@livablecity.org for more information or to sign up!

 

 

Recap: Sunday Streets 2014 at the Embarcadero!

Sun rising over San Francisco Bay, my co-intern Natalie and I headed into “the city” at dawn last Sunday morning to prepare for the Sunday Streets kickoff event at the Embarcadero. The list of tasks seemed dauntingly huge: move T-shirts, bikes, promotional materials and other related office things into rented trucks, courtesy of City CarShare. Drive to the storage unit to move even more stuff – tents, bikes, posters into the already jam-packed truck beds. Drive all that stuff to Harry Bridges Plaza, just across from the ferry building, at 8 AM, several hours before the official closure of the streets, in order to unload and set-up the tents and start welcoming volunteers into the fold.

 

Volunteers. This being my first Sunday Streets event, I had frequently heard about the value and importance of the Sunday Streets volunteer community, how much each individual really contributed to making the long second sundays of the month so uplifting and successful. Yet, in the morning rush to close down the whole of the Embarcadero – talking to traffic cops, setting up barricades, zip-tieing caution signs, coordinating people to serve as intersection monitors, and biking up and down the route to direct neighborhood groups – it became apparent to me how dedicated this community was to all the little details that make it possible for a small collection of individuals to close down one of the largest, most iconic streets in San Francisco for people to claim space over traffic to bike, skate, walk, dance and play.

 

By the time the street officially opened to crowds and the event proceedings began to unfold, I kept noticing moments of kindness and happiness that demonstrated how community spirit has a habit of just moving into spaces of celebration. Kids playing on old statues, friends biking the length of the bayside route, musicians enlivening usually plain and empty stretches of sidewalk between piers, people helping each other with fixing bikes and directions on where to go next.

(Kids have plenty to play with at Sunday Streets.)

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(Sunday Streets is a time for neighborhood organizations to meet and greet their neighbors, even the little ones!)

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(Wherever you are in San Francisco, music never goes out of style. They’re getting ready for the crowd!)

At the end of the day, when all of the tents had been taken down, when everything had been moved back into the truck beds, the crowds long-gone, one of our interns remarked at how fast the day had moved, how easily cars had retaken the street in absence of the day’s activities. To me, though admittedly quite tired after a long, demanding day, the comment felt wishful – so much work was put into creating such a transient space for so many people to enjoy together, and only for an afternoon! Yet, for a few hours, Embarcadero felt much larger and much more vital than seen by the window of a passing car. Heading back to the storage unit, sun this time to the west of us, I ultimately felt both hope and gratitude: hope that a single afternoon’s happiness in community can inspire community far beyond retaking a street for a few hours on a Sunday, and gratitude for all the people who made the hard work of that retaking possible.

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(Sunday Streets is a product of everyone’s hard work. Even this dog’s.)

Spring forward with Sunday Streets!

** Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday March, 9. Don’t forget to move your clock forward 1 hour – so you won’t miss any of the excitement and fun at Sunday Streets.**

Visit the Embarcadero event information page on our website for all the details on activities, programs, traffic changes, and more.

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Mission Sunday Streets Community Meeting, 3/12/14, 6 PM

Mission Community Meeting
Wednesday, March 12, 6pm-7pm
Buena Vista Horace Mann Auditorium
3351 23rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 (Between Valencia & Bartlett)

We’re currently in the process of planning this year’s Sunday Streets event in the Mission! As in past years, we will be working with the various communities in the Mission District to close down a portion of Valencia Street for bikers, walkers, and community activities.

Buena Vista Horace Mann Auditorium is hosting a community meeting to discuss Sunday Streets in the Mission on the evening of March 12th. We invite community members interested in sharing concerns and suggestions for this year’s Mission Sunday Streets event, including route and activity feedback and community support, in order to make this year’s Mission Sunday Streets our most fun, successful and inclusive event yet.

Planning to attend? RSVP here. Interested but can’t attend? Email SundayStreets@LivableCity.org.

Sunday Streets Excelsior, Community Meeting recap

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Sunday Streets Excelsior, Community Meeting
Ingleside Police Station, Community Room, Thursday, February 20, 7pm

This Thursday evening, on the edge of Balboa Park, a diverse collection of neighborhood groups and community members piled into the Ingleside Police Station to talk about Sunday Streets: what they like about the event, what they’d like to see change, and preparations for this year’s event on September 28th.

Excelsior residents and representatives from a number of local organizations, including the Excelsior Action Group (EAG), Excelsior District Improvement Association (EDIA), and the Excelsior Festival Committee came together to share their ideas for this year’s event. Some favorite ideas included: a basketball clinic for kids, Zumba classes, youth drum and dance performances, a mobile climbing wall, and other activities from the Excelsior Library, the YMCA, Park and Recreation, and other neighborhood businesses and organizations. Permit officers from the Ingleside Police Station also chimed in to explain how public safety, emergency vehicle access, and other logistical concerns impact the extent of the event.

Sunday Streets is partnering with the Excelsior Festival for the third year in a row to coordinate the two events which will both occur on Sunday September 28. The neighborhood focused Excelsior Festival will center around the Persia Triangle, while Sunday Streets will be held on a mile of Mission St adjacent to the festival. Excelsior Festival Committee members expressed the shared benefit of partnering together activate community spaces.

As an intern attending my first community meeting for Sunday Streets, I was amazed by the amount of planning necessary to create temporary car-free spaces. From negotiating routes for emergency vehicles and buses, to working with merchants and community associations to figure out the length and shape of the route, to engaging residents and business employees alike about the implementation of a space for people to walk and bike in community on their typically car-oriented streets, it’s no wonder that planning for an event in late September begins before March has even arrived! Still, attendees were positive about the effect Sunday Streets has in the Excelsior, with people highlighting the benefits for parents and their children to get out and play in the streets and the amount of foot traffic that is directed towards the neighborhood merchant corridor on Mission Street, including visitors from other Bay Area communities.

For more information about Sunday Streets in the Excelsior, go to SundayStreetsSF.com/Event-Information and click the Excelsior icon, or email sundaystreets@livablecity.org.

Share your great ideas for programs and activities here, or email liza@livablecity.org if you’d like to volunteer with Sunday Streets at or before the event.

–Pablo Baeza, Sunday Streets Communications Intern