“Not a single automobile: The silence is deafening, you can actually hear the branches dripping moisture, squirrels scrambling through the underbrush — and the birds!” No, that’s not a quote from someone at Sunday Streets in Golden Gate Park last year, that’s Herb Caen writing about car-free Sundays in the park, back in 1973. Did you know, since 1967, 1.5 miles of JFK Dr in Golden Gate Park have been car-free every Sunday?
Seven years later, the city of Bogota, Colombia initiated their own program of car-free streets on Sundays, called Ciclovia. Over the decades, miles of streets and popularity of the program ebbed and flowed depending on the political interest and support at the time. It is now a robust program that boasts a network of over 75 miles and has inspired hundreds of other car-free streets initiatives across Latin America, North America and the world – including here in San Francisco. Despite having had car-free streets in Golden Gate Park since 1967, it was the success of Bogota’s Ciclovia that provided the inspiration for San Francisco’s first Sunday Streets events in 2008.
In 40 years, Bogota created a network of 75 miles of weekly carfree streets, that’s roughly 1 mile per 100,000 residents. In the 48 years since the first car-free streets in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco still has just the 1.5 miles of weekly car-free streets, or not quite ? mile per 100,000 residents.
Think about it this Sunday, while you enjoy the monthly freedom of Sunday Streets. What do you want San Francisco to be like in another 48 years? Just one day a month when San Francisco neighborhoods can repurpose their streets for people? Just 1.5 miles of streets in the park where you can bike, walk, and run on Sundays safe from vehicle traffic?
If you’d like to see more, sign the petition and your support for Sunday Streets and a bolder vision for San Francisco.