summer in the mountains

I spend much of my summer in the mountains, backpacking, so this blog will be pretty inactive until August. I may have a chance to catch up on some topics, but may not.

One of the interesting effects I notice going back and forth between backpacking and hiking in the mountains, and bicycling in town, is that it uses different muscle groups! Though each keeps me in pretty decent overall condition, I do get sore and adjusting muscles going back and forth.

When I go backpacking, I generally take Amtrak (train and/or bus) to Truckee, and then get closer to where I’m going on TART and BlueGo. The west shore shuttle, called the Emerald Bay Trolley this year, takes me close to several trailheads, and also makes connections from the south shore to the north shore. Most of my trips are in the Granite Chief Wilderness, which is off the northwest side of Lake Tahoe, the Desolation Wilderness off the southwest side, the Mokelumne Wilderness south of the Tahoe basin, and of course the Tahoe Rim Trail. To some degree, all of these locations are accessible by public transportation.

On a day in between backpack trips, yesterday, I went to San Francisco for Sunday Streets. This event was in Golden Gate Park and along The Great Highway. It is fun to bicycle along streets and roads closed to motor vehicles, but these long routes don’t have the connections to local businesses and local people that other locales such as The Mission have, and so for me, are a bit less fun. The next Sunday Streets event on Sunday, July 28, is The Mission, which is along Valencia and 24th Streets in the Mission district. Go!

where to have open streets in Sacramento?

a family on SF Sunday Streets - Embarcadero
a family on SF Sunday Streets – Embarcadero

Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) posted a question on Facebook, “Where shall we hold one in Sacramento?” about the Sunday Streets event this past Sunday on the Embarcadero in San Francisco. This echoes a conversation Alexis and I had while we were attending. She liked the Embarcadero Sunday Streets because it was a long distance and showed how streets can be used for transportation in a different way than we usually use them. For Sacramento, that would argue for a long distance closure that connects together destinations.

Though I certainly enjoyed this Sunday Street, I really like the two that I’ve been to in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco, which close stretches of Valencia St and 24th St. This route is in a neighborhood, there are people living along the streets and in the neighborhood, as well as those who come from other places to enjoy. There are a multitude of locally-owned businesses to appreciate and engage, with nary a chain in sight. The special events such as play areas, climbing walls, hula hoops, dance demonstrations and others feel more concentrated rather than scattered out along a long route. For Sacramento, this argues for a midtown location, which is the only area where there is a sufficient concentration of residents and locally owned businesses. The Mission event is about community, and more like a street fair.

Embarcadero is more about transportation, and Mission is more about community. Sacramento, of course, could do both.

For more information about the flavors and locations of open streets events, see Open Streets Project. Check out the website for background information including “models”, and then go to one! Of course San Francisco is the easiest for us here in the Sacramento region, but Berkeley will also be having one or more this year, and as you’ll see, they are becoming common on the west coast, throughout the United States, and the world.

The next San Francisco event is on April 14, and is in the Mission neighborhood which I’ve referred to above, on Valencia St and 24th St. Don’t miss it! And bring back your thoughts and commitment to making it happen in Sacramento.

Alexis and I volunteered at the event as intersection monitors. Once you’ve been to an event, you can consider volunteering, which provides a different perspective. Though I was initially assigned to an quiet intersection where there was nothing much to do, I got moved to a lively intersection, The Embarcadero and North Point, where the F streetcar line crosses The Embarcadero at an angle, and there was a lot to do, stopping the walking-biking-rolling crowd as the streetcar came through, keeping people out of the dedicated streetcar lane, and talking to people about how to safely cross tracks.

I wrote more about the Sunday Streets Mission events I attended last year.

San Francisco Sunday Streets

Roller dancers at SF Sunday Streets

Bicyclists, walkers, skaters, families, bands, food, fun physical activity, welcoming businesses, community organizations, craziness! And no cars. What more could you ask for?

It was my pleasure to find myself in San Francisco on Sunday, July 1, for Sunday Streets. I was in the bay area to visit friends, and just happened to notice on Streetsblog that there was a Sunday Streets event. I’ve heard about these but never participated, and really looked forward to it. At 11AM, not too much was happening, a few people wandering and many people setting up, but by 1PM, that place was hopping, with so many people that it was sometimes difficult to keep moving. But that isn’t a bad thing. The 11 blocks of Valencia Street and 12 blocks of 24th Street in the Mission District of San Francisco (south of downtown) were blocked off to car traffic, though some cross-streets were open to cars.

Continue reading “San Francisco Sunday Streets”