Play Streets Returning in 2018
If you think about transforming an ordinary street into a car-free, community space, San Francisco's iconic Sunday Streets might come to mind. But something as popular as a Sunday Streets event can be a big, complicated operation to pull off.
How can the city help communities create their own smaller scale car-free spaces where neighbors can socialize and kids play on a more frequent basis?
To answer that question, we piloted a new program called Play Streets in 2017. Play Streets allows residents and community organizations to close down city streets to provide a safe place for children, families and neighbors to come together, play and get active.
The program started as a pilot in 2017, led by the SFMTA with help from the Planning Department, Department of Public Health and Department of Children, Youth and Their Families. In its first year, a total of 13 Play Streets events were held on four streets in the Bayview, Visitacion Valley, Western Addition, and the Mission. It's clear to see those first events were a success and the neighborhood had a blast.
Now in our second year of the two-year pilot, we are increasing the capacity of Play Streets, creating more opportunities to work with returning community organizations, as well as expanding the Play Streets program to new applicants citywide. Our goal this year is to provide opportunities for all San Franciscans to take advantage of this program.
This year, several Play Streets are expected to be hosted in the Bayview and Visitacion Valley, as well as in Chinatown, where Play Streets will partner with the Chinese Cultural Center.
In addition, community members who wish to host their own Play Streets will have the opportunity to attend a number of workshops which will provide technical assistance for outreach, programming and event logistics. Further information on the workshops and applications are in the works and staff at the SFMTA are exploring ways to make the already-successful Play Streets pilot a permanent city program.