April 9, 2010
  • 4/9/2010 -- Streets of San Mateo County to come alive on Sunday 

    Elizabeth Pfeffer 

    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.