County leaders this weekend are hoping for a little dancing in the streets.
Well, maybe some strolling, cycling and playing alongside the dancing, too.
For a third year, San Mateo County is urging the community to ditch the cars and head into the streets and parks. The now-annual "Streets Alive!” event is getting a small tweak into "Streets Alive! Parks Alive!” For both days this weekend, cities will block off roads, host physical activities running the gamut from dancing at the Burlingame Farmers’ Market to kickball in a Colma gym. Regardless of what people decide to do, event brainchild Supervisor Carole Groom said the goal is just getting them to do something beyond sitting in traffic.
"We just want to showcase that this county is healthy and we’re all on board with keeping it that way,” Groom said.
Last year, Groom said her favorite activity was watching line dancing at the San Bruno farmers’ market.
"It just struck me, isn’t this terrific?” she said.
But don’t expect Groom to personally take up the electric slide; she prefers to leave the dancing to others although she certainly looks forward to enjoying from the sidelines all the styles to be showcased this weekend.
Most of the events are on Sunday but some do fall the previous day which make it easier to check out more than one, and several have moved locations from last year to accommodate bigger crowds or put a greater focus on the El Camino Real area.
The goal is transforming streets and parks into safe destinations where people can be active, spend quality time with loved ones and neighbors, rediscover their neighborhoods and even boost small businesses throwing open their doors for participants.
Groom kicked off the event in April 2010 to coincide with World Health Day and while vehicles stayed away, something else didn’t comply quite so well — rain. Heavy rains dampened attendance and several events but organizers didn’t hesitate to try again last year, albeit a month later.
Now in its third year, the weekend has added the emphasis on parks in health and quality of life.
The event was always about using the outdoors in healthy ways, Groom said.
"My mantra was the parks can be our fitness center and they’re free,” she said.
With the extra attention given through "Streets Alive!Parks Alive!” Groom hopes any future tax measures earmarked for parks would fare better than the two prior failed attempts.
"That’s not really the reason we do this event but it does raise awareness and lets people see that there are all these beautiful assets,” she said.
Looking to the future, Groom would like to give residents "the thrill of walking down a bit stretch of El Camino without cars” but understands the economics aren’t good for that right now.
"Besides, in the meantime, we’ve got a lot to keep us occupied everywhere else,” she said.
Weekend events, which are all held between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, May 6 unless indicated otherwise, include:
• Belmont, Caltrain parking lot located at El Camino Real and O’Neill Street;
• Burlingame, Park Road between Burlingame Ave. and Howard Ave.: live music, fitness and dance at the Burlingame Farmers’ Market;
• Cañada Road between Edgewood Road and State Route 92, Cañada Road Bicycle Sunday: Cañada Road will be closed to automobile traffic for car-free bike
• Colma (noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 5), T.R. Policita Field & Gym, 550 E. Market St., Daly City: Activities include soccer, basketball, kickball, relay races and field games at the new gym and field;
• Daly City (noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 5) Serramonte Center, Daly City: Health and Safety Fair;
• El Granada, Quarry Park, Santa Maria Avenue and Columbus Street: guided hikes and kids relay races;
• Foster City (both days), Leo Ryan Park: Polynesian Festival and Half Marathon;
• Menlo Park, North Fair Oaks, Siena Youth Center, 2625 Marlborough Ave.: games, activities, zumba;
• Pacifica, multiple locations;
• Redwood City, 2600 block of Broadway between El Camino Real and California/Perry streets: Broadway will be closed for crafts, games and an inflatable playland;
• San Bruno (Saturday, May 5), San Bruno City Park, 251 City Park Way: fitness, dance, art and enrichment classes;
• San Mateo, Laurelwood Park, 3471 Glendora Drive: guided hikes and outdoor games;
• South San Francisco, Orange Memorial Park and Centennial Way, (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.): Activities include Zumba, Tai Chi, yoga, line dancing and trike-a-thon; and
• Woodside, 3300 Tripp Road, Old Woodside Store Day (noon to 4 p.m.)
Sponsors of this year’s event include the San Mateo County Hospital Consortium, SamTrans, the Peninsula Health Care District, San Mateo County and more than a dozen participating cities and communities. A full list of activities and details are available at www.streetsalivesmc.org.
Michelle Durand can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.