Spring has (finally) sprung in San Francisco, and if you’ve walked past any parks recently, you may have noticed that barbecue goers, sunbathers, and frisbee tossers are out in full force. Such has also been the case at India Basin Shoreline Park, a beautiful and recently-updated waterfront at the southeastern tip of the city. Over the past few weeks, the outdoor area has seen everything from children’s birthday parties to catered brunches as Bayview-Hunters Point residents soak up the springtime sun.
It’s in that same spirit that Sunday Streets has introduced Bayside Saturdays, a self-guided experience to enjoy all the relatively new park has to offer. After a hard-fought and ongoing redevelopment process to create the park and controversial neighboring housing, the surrounding area also underwent a SFMTA-led Quick-Build in December to remove two traffic lanes and replace them with a protected bike and walking lane bordering the park. Bayside Saturday attendees will be able to enjoy the new walkway as well as a series of scheduled health and wellness events every Saturday this month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Bayside Saturdays are one of a series of events described collectively as the “Rise Together Season,” which are small-format versions of Sunday Streets, a popular city program previously stunted by the pandemic. The events are “created in partnership with diverse communities to celebrate car-free space and provide health and wellness programming where it is needed most,” according to a press release from the office of Mayor London Breed.
As part of the Bayview Quick-Build, standard cement barriers have been painted by Black and Bayview-based artists Rhonel Roberts, Ata’ataoletaeao McNealy, Claudio Talavera-Ballon, Malik Seneferu, Tanya Herrera, and Ira Watkins. Their artworks, most of which are bright in color and include scenes of birds, musicians, and geometric tribal prints, are sponsored by the San Francisco African American Arts and Culture District, Cemex, Spin, and Quick-Build donor and artist Wendy MacNaughton.
In addition to enjoying the waterfront artwork, viewers can also work up a sweat at introductory tai chi, yoga, and Zumba class. Each class is first come, first served, and is capped at 25 participants. Children between the ages of two and five can partake in bicycling classes called “Freedom from Training Wheels” while the parents get their work-out on. Ample, free COVID-19 testing is also available for the whole family. The programming schedule is accessible on the Sunday Streets website.
While San Franciscans’ hunger for socializing is tied over by these smaller events, Sunday Streets is slated to restart large-scale programming this October. Sunday Streets has hosted several large, free festivals throughout the city for 13 years, bringing together an all-ages crowd and supporting hundreds of local businesses. Their regular 2020 programming, however, came to a halt when Shelter in Place orders were enacted last March.
In addition to Bayside Saturdays in April, Sunday Streets is also holding an “anchor” event every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Chinatown called “Walkway Weekends.” At this albeit smaller event, Sunday Streets shuts down car traffic on Grant Blvd between California St. and Washington St. to encourage foot traffic. Merchants can sell more of their wares on the sidewalk, and restaurants that didn’t previously have room for outdoor dining are permitted to stretch into the street.
After months and months of staying indoors, it’s time for vaccinated San Franciscans to carefully come out of their cocoons and enjoy being together again. As participating business Speakeasy Ales & Lagers wrote on Instagram, “come through for the experience you’ve been missing since quarantine.”
Saturdays in April | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | Free
Bayview Quick-Build, Evans Ave., Hunters Point Blvd., and Innes Ave. between Jennings St. and Earls St.