Streets of San Mateo County to come alive on Sunday
4/9/2010 -- Streets of San Mateo County to come alive on Sunday
For the San Mateo County Times
Taking cars off the streets and putting people on them is the goal of a new program
launching in San Mateo County this weekend.
The Streets Alive program is following the path of San Francisco and dozens of other
cities around the country that are closing streets and heavily trafficked areas to promote
healthier modes of transportation.
Half the county's cities are creating car-free zones for the event Sunday, which is the final
day of the five-day World Health Day celebration. The participating cities will host
activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine.
This year's theme of emphasizing health and urbanization inspired San Mateo County
Supervisor Carole Groom to reach out to local cities for collaboration. Groom vowed to
support health programs and the county's park system in December 2008 when she was
appointed to replace Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, on the Board of Supervisors.
In October, she hosted a conference to address building a healthier county and challenged
policymakers to participate in World Health Day. Streets Alive is a result of that effort.
The short-term objective of the program is twofold: bringing attention to healthier
lifestyles and encouraging city planning with more attention to cyclists and pedestrians.
In the future, countywide participation and permanent closure of stretches of streets may
become a possibility.
"World Health Day is an international event, and many cities, states and countries have
been celebrating it for a long time," Groom said. "We're unique here and asking 20 cities
to get involved."
The San Mateo County Health System and local public transportation agencies are also
participating in Sunday's events to help educate citizens about staying active.
More than 1,000 cities around the world are hosting World Health Day activities in the
spirit of opening urban streets to pedestrians. Belmont, Brisbane, East Palo Alto, Foster
City, Millbrae, North Fair Oaks, Redwood City, San Mateo and South San Francisco are
among the San Mateo County communities that will be hosting events Sunday.