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Get Out of Your Car and Into the Streets

Cities across the county will be hosting healthy and family-friendly activities for Streets Alive San Mateo County.

Planning to drive near Courthouse Square on Sunday? You may want to plan an alternate route.

From transforming avenues into public plazas to turning neighborhoods into walking and biking trails, Redwood City and several San Mateo County cities will be hosting Streets Alive events on Sunday, May 1.

Twelve cities are participating in the 2011 Streets Alive event, which aims to increase the use of public space to promote community and exercise.

“We are trying to incorporate more modes of alternative transportation in people’s day and life,” said Eric Pawlowsky, chief legislative aide for Supervisor Carole Groom’s office, which is coordinating the event.

Organizers hope for a better turnout than last year’s inaugural event, which was dampened by heavy rain.

The idea originated from a forum hosted by Groom in 2009 called “Creating and Using Active Public Spaces” with keynote speaker Gil Penalosa, who helped spark a global open streets movement in Bogota, Columbia, called Ciclovia.

Last year’s event was held in tandem with World Health Day with eight cities participating.

Four cities have been added to the roster this year and Pawlowsky said the hope is that local communities embrace the movement in everyday life and urban planning. 

“As communities update their plans and as they redevelop hopefully they will incorporate some of these principals into the design of their cities,” he said.

Redwood City will host several exercise-oriented activities in Courthouse Square, from belly dancing to boxing, between 11:30am and 2:30pm. Adjacent streets will be closed, including County loop.

In Foster City, the Leo J. Ryan Park Amphitheatre will host a boot camp workout at 10am and bollywood dance class at 11am.

“For us the amphitheatre is a great focal point and Leo Ryan offers plenty of space to get out and walk,” said Recreation Superintendent Jennifer Clark.

The Parks and Recreation Department will have maps for one-mile, self-guided walking tours of the city’s nine neighborhoods, Clark said.

“The whole concept is get folks out of their cars and into their parks and being physically active,” she said.

In Burlingame, you can check out the Farmers Market on Park Road between Burlingame and Howard avenues and listen to a live bluegrass band.

The city will provide information on fitness and recreational activities. The event is from 10am to 1:30pm.

In an event dubbed “Families on the Move,” the City of San Mateo will be hosting dog training, playground games, and a “wheels rodeo” on East 5th Avenue between El Camino Real and Laurel Avenue.

The family-friendly event runs between 10am and 2pm.  

If you are traveling to the events, SamTrans and Caltrain are encouraging the use of public transit. Bus routes and train stops are located near many events and bikes can be brought on board.

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