If you’re looking for an excuse to get off your couch and do some social distancing while supporting local business, celebrate by heading to two closed-off blocks of Valencia Street on Thursday through Sunday nights for shopping, outdoor dining, and even some live music.
Where: Valencia between 16th and 17th streets and between 18th and 19th streets is closing to cars four days each week beginning Thursday, July 23rd.
The second San Francisco street to implement this model, following Chinatown’s car-free Grant Street debut last weekend, Valencia Street will see parking spots and bike and traffic lanes cleared of vehicles at 4pm to be transformed into makeshift patios and exercise space by 5pm.
While Valencia Street’s boarded up storefronts are slowly starting to come down as more and more restaurants pivot to sidewalk or parklet seating via temporary Shared Spaces permits, the once always-buzzing neighborhood is still undeniably empty.
Organizers and local businesses are hopeful that expanded outdoor seating and shopping, plus a 26-foot-wide corridor in the middle of the street for walkers, runners, and cyclists, will restore some of Valencia’s pizzaz by attracting locals looking to support the neighborhood’s merchants or simply get outside.
Despite organizers’ original hopes to utilize the stretch of Valencia from 15th to 19th streets in its entirety, according to Mission Local, the two agreed upon blocks are intended to accommodate the Mission Police Station, Community Thrift, and senior housing’s need for vehicle accessibility.
Entry and exit ways will be blocked off by barriers courtesy of the Valencia Corridor Merchants, with volunteers ready to open the middle of the street to police or fire vehicles in case of emergency. At 10pm, the two blocks will reopen to traffic.