A normally bustling downtown Grand Avenue between Walnut and Linden Avenues will transform into a giant outdoor community health and fitness faire this Sunday, as South San Francisco, along with cities across San Mateo County, will celebrate its second event.
From 10am to 2pm, the two-block stretch will close to vehicular traffic and open up to accommodate walkers, cyclists, skaters, dancers and any other type of car-free movement residents can think up. An offshoot of World Health Day, the event aims to get people out in their communities and enjoying physical activities in safe zones.
According to San Mateo County’s “Streets Alive” website, the impetus for starting the open air health faire came from a global open streets movement, which originated in Bogota, Columbia. Aiming to foster a sense of community while encouraging healthy living and reducing carbon emissions from cars, the event lines up with the World Health Organization’s goals in its “1,000 Cities, 1,000 Lives” campaign to make cities healthier places to live.
Cities up and down the Peninsula and along the coast, from Pacifica to East Palo Alto, will be taking four hours out of their regular Sunday schedules to designate certain areas as car-free zones for the faire, which will include a number of volunteer-led activities which are all free or low-cost.
Among free activities South San Franciscans can enjoy under the sun are Zumba classes, Bollywood dance, martial arts lessons and a group bike ride that will follow a designated route. Participants can join instructors from the Parks and Recreation Department as they guide attendees through various demonstrations, a History Walk and a Fit Walk/Art Talk through downtown.
Residents can make the day a family event, as the city will set up a special children’s area at the corner of Grand and Maple Avenues, where kids can take part in an obstacle course and other tyke-friendly activities.
“Streets Alive” will also provide one of the first opportunities to use the city’s new downtown parking garage, which opens Friday. Residents can park for free, then ditch the car and venture to Grand via a newly installed pedestrian walkway for a day of connecting to the community while utilizing public spaces to improve their health.