San Francisco's Valencia Street close to traffic on weekends for outdoor dining, pedestrians

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A two-block stretch of San Francisco's Valencia Street is now open for pedestrians and closed to cars.

The city's multi-agency Shared Spaces program is to create space for outdoor dining and physical distance.


Two blocks on Valencia Street between 16th and 17th, and 18th and 19th will be closed to traffic every Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. This will last until Sunday November 1.

Los Amigos Restaurant opened on June 24, despite the pandemic. Miguel Ramirez manages the Salvadorean restaurant on the weekends. He said they're grateful for extra outdoor dining space and grateful just to be working.

"I applied for the job and they give me the job and like oh god, thank god it's four days a week. At least it's something," Ramirez said.

A few doors down, mannequins with suits and matching masks stand in front of Five & Diamond. A space artists rent out. James Freeborn currently runs the space for his men's fashion wear called Freeborn Designs.

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"We moved to this space on March 6, we were open for six days before we got shut down. We were shutdown for about two months. We were able to reopen about five weeks ago," Freeborn said.

The street closures on Valencia started on Thursday, and he said already there's a uptick in business.

"Just on Thursday without people even knowing it was happening, I had more customers that day than the previous five weeks combined," Freeborn said.

He now uses all of his scrap fabric to make masks. "I've probably sold maybe a hundred of these in the past three days," Freeborn said, pointing to his selection of masks.

Freeborn said he'd like to see street closures like this happen not just during nights and weekends.

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"I would ideally like to see something like this happen to a street in San Francisco on more of a regular bases than just the weekends," Freeborn said.

But he's happy to see more customers.

"I have a product where people need to see and feel, appreciate in person so yeah this is giving me a lot of hope to be open right now," Freeborn said.

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