Play Streets

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2013 Play Streets Schedule
Saturday, July 13; Western Addition
Saturday, July 20; Bayview
Saturday, August 24; Tenderloin
Saturday,  September 7; Excelsior.

Introduction:  Play Streets for All

San Francisco’s Sunday Streets program, now entering its fifth season of transforming miles of city streets into safe, fun, car-free space for people to enjoy, presents a new program element in 2013:  Play Streets for All. This new program draws on Sunday Streets’ organizing expertise, helping community members to create a smaller versions of Sunday Streets in their own neighborhood.

Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross are Presenting Sponsors of San Francisco’s Play Streets for All.

What is a Play Street?

San Francisco’s Play Streets will incorporate many features of the popular Sunday Streets program. Each Play Street event will create one to two blocks of car-free space and feature locally organized programming. Play Streets will provide recreational opportunities aimed at youth in SF neighborhoods that currently lack adequate resources and access to recreational programs. Programming will include nutrition information as well as physical activities targeted towards youth and families.

How is a Play Street different than Sunday Streets?

Play Streets are significantly smaller than Sunday Streets and will use one to two blocks of streets (Sunday Streets uses 2-5 miles). Once the program is established in each area, the goal is to have future Play Streets events primarily led and organized by local community members (with assistance and support from Sunday Streets staff as needed). Since they are organized locally, these events can happen on any day of the week, not just Sundays. It will ultimately be up to each community to decide when, where, and how often to feature this program.\

Why Play Streets?

A key objective of Play Streets for All is to exponentially increase opportunities for physical activity that car-free open streets provide by expanding the universe of organizers and building the capacity of community leaders in target communities.  These kinds of programs have proven effective in combating the obesity epidemic by providing access and incentive for people to get out and be physically active.  Ultimately, Play Streets for All will deepen Sunday Streets’ positive impact on the health and well being of San Francisco residents.

How does Play Streets program work?

Play Streets for All will feature a series of workshops and training materials created and led by San Francisco Beautiful, whose staff has expertise in developing effective community education programs.  Following each workshop, Sunday Streets staff will work with local leaders to plan and implement Play Streets events in their communities.  Play Streets will leverage Sunday Streets’ organizing resources, contacts and knowledge to ensure successful pilot events in 2013.

Where will Play Streets 2013 events take place?

The 2013 Play Streets For All events will pilot in four targeted communities where health disparities are high and access to open space and recreation facilities are limited:

  1. Tenderloin
  2. Excelsior
  3. Bayview
  4. Western Addition

Our goal is to hold a minimum of one Play Street event in each target neighborhood in 2013.


Sunday Streets started in 2008 as a way to combat obesity by providing miles of car-free streets lined with a range of free physical activities to inspire residents and visitors to get out and be active in diverse SF neighborhoods. Routes connected underserved communities with the highest incidents of obesity and related ailments caused by lack of exercise and poor diet.

Sunday Streets organizers have produced 36 Sunday Streets events using 9 unique routes that include more than 20 San Francisco neighborhoods.  Along the way, we have created a nationally recognized program that other cities look to as a model as they implement their own version of Ciclovia programs.  Due to the overwhelming success of Sunday Streets, current demand for the program outpaces the organizations capacity to go to every area that wants it. Play Streets for All is a straightforward solution to that. The program provides opportunities and resources that enable local organizers to create local car-free programs without waiting for Sunday Streets to reach them.

The Team:

Sunday Streets is co-presented by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and Livable City, the non-profit partner responsible day-to-day management of the programs. Play Streets for All is a new component of Sunday Streets, introduced in partnership with SF Beautiful and SF Mayor Edwin Lee, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (MONS), and SF Department Recreation & Parks. The national Play Streets initiative is sponsored by Partnership for a Healthier America – chaired by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her national campaign to end childhood obesity – with funding provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.  Blue Shield of California and Anthem Blue Cross are Presenting Sponsors of San Francisco’s Play Streets for All.

How will Play Streets impact the community?

Through research conducted by Dr. Susan Zieff, PhD, and her students at San Francisco State University, we know that open streets events have the potential to change participant’s behavior so that they become more physically active. What we also know is that in order to be effective, opportunities need to be regularly available. Sunday Streets visits most route areas from one to a maximum of four times per year, so Play Streets for All is an important program designed to fill in the gaps, increasing open space opportunities in communities that need these resources the most.



At each of four free workshops, participants will quickly learn how to access permitting resources available to them, and about how best to engage the community while also meeting standards for safety. Reserve a spot at one of these workshops today! They’re already filling up. Write or leave a message at 415.421.2608 x15.

Saturday, May 4: For all residents of SF with an emphasis on District 6. 201 Turk Street Apartments Community Room, 201 Turk Street, SF 94102. 1-4pm.Write to sign up for the May 4 event!

Saturday, May 11: For all residents of SF with an emphasis on District 5. Venue: Rosa Parks Apartments, 1251 Turk Street, SF 94115. 1-4pm. Write to sign up for the May 11 event!

Sunday, May 19: For all residents of SF with an emphasis on District 11. Venue: Excelsior Branch Library Community Room, 4400 Mission St, SF, CA 94112. 1-4pm. Write to sign up for the May 19 event!

Thursday, May 23: For all residents of SF with an emphasis on District 10. Venue: Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theatre, 4705 3rd St, SF, CA 94124. 5:30-8:30pm. Write to sign up for the May 23 event!