Rain dampens spirits during Streets Alive

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The goal was to promote healthier lifestyles by using parks and streets as recreation areas when free of cars, but rain thwarted San Mateo County’s participation in a nationwide event.

Roughly eight Peninsula cities had signed up for Streets Alive and created programs  encouraging residents to get out of their homes and ride a bike, roller skate or walk on local streets and in parks.

“We are obviously disappointed,” San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom said of the rain that fell Sunday during the scheduled event. “The programs were good, the people were good, but we just had huge rain.”

According to the National Weather Service, an estimated 3.09 inches of rain fell at Crystal Springs Reservoir just west of the San Mateo city limits Sunday, while 1.39 inches of rain was recorded at the San Francisco International Airport. Redwood City recorded 1.16 inches of rain.

Streets Alive was organized as part of the World Health Organization’s challenge to 1,000 cities on World Health Day to participate and open their streets to recreation.

Sarat Mayer, director of health policy and planning with the county health systems, said though the weather was less than ideal, the county and the health center will begin planning next year’s Streets Alive.

“It was not a waste,” Mayer said. “I think we started a movement in using public space in a healthy way and now we can build on that.”

Five of the eight cities on the Peninsula still set up and held some recreational activities early Sunday before the rain picked up in the afternoon. North Fair Oaks, Redwood City, Belmont, Foster City and South San Francisco were among those that braved the weather.

Millbrae, San Mateo and Brisbane canceled because of the rain, Mayer said.

Groom said she was in Foster City while other members of her staff were in South San Francisco fighting the winds and rain.

The total cost of the event is unknown. Mayer said there were many in-kind donations from cities and staff to help put Streets Alive together.

Mayer said despite the rain, moving indoors was not an option.

“The focus was to be outdoors in parks and in streets,” she said. “We could not move it indoors. It would defeat the purpose.”

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