SF kicks off first 'Sunday Streets' event

August 31, 2008 7:45:36 PM PDT
San Francisco shut down four and a half miles of the Embarcadero for its first ever 'Sunday Streets' event.

"This is a wonderful day for San Francisco families," says shop owner Phillip Popadopolus.

Phillip Popadopolus, owner of the Embarcadero's Java House, enjoyed the sight of children as they hula hooped and skipped rope in South Beach. In China Town, residents enjoyed the closed streets to take a walk. In the Bayview, kids had their bikes repaired for free.

"This is fantastic. They're getting to experience so much out here," says San Francisco resident Katrina Madsen.

The Embarcadero was closed from the Ferry Building to China Basin and closed again along Illinois Avenue coming out at 3rd Street in the Bayview District. 'Sunday Streets' is a new event that Mayor Gavin Newsom kicked off Sunday in China Town.

"Getting people out to be active. You get all kinds of programs for adults. It's about focusing on health and wellness, but also celebrating the diversity of our city," says Newsom.

Business owners, who count on the Embarcadero to deliver customers to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39, were not celebrating. They say Labor Day Sunday is one of their busiest days and that these traffic jams along alternate routes frustrated potential customers from getting to them

"I think its a great idea. What I've said all along, it's the wrong time of year. It's our busiest time in the wharf," says Pier 39 CEO Bob MacIntosh.

Jeffrey Pollack is a restaurant owner and represents wharf businesses. He thinks lost a lot of money was missed out on Sunday.

"We'll find that out when everyone does their numbers today."

In the Bayview, people who had never ventured into this part of the city rode in and looked around. For 10-year-old Bayview resident Noel, the closed streets were cool.

"I dont really get a chance to ride in the streets that often. There's a lot of crazy drivers around here," says Noel.

Fisherman's Wharf business owners say they'll check Sunday's receipts to see if they lost any revenue. Then they'll let the Mayor know if future events are good or bad for business.


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