Mayor Lee Announces New Sunday Streets “Walking Street” in Chinatown & North Beach

New September Sunday Streets Event Focused on Walking & Citywide Ping Pong Tournament

9/13/11—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the first Sunday Streets “Walking Street” on Grant Avenue through Chinatown and North Beach on Sunday, September 18th. The event will include a commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy with the first citywide Ping Pong Tournament.

“It’s great to have Sunday Streets back in Chinatown and North Beach after a three-year hiatus, and we’re especially excited to present an activity that symbolized the beginning of friendly relations between the United States and China,” said Mayor Lee. “As we remember the historic Ping Pong Diplomacy tournament that took place 40 years ago this year, we are celebrating community-building programs, such as Sunday Streets, that bring our communities together.”

“The new activities, such as ‘Walking Street’, promise to be among the highlights of this weekend’s Sunday Streets in Chinatown and North Beach,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “As the lead agency for Sunday Streets, the SFMTA plans to continue to grow this program as a way to help residents and visitors get out and experience the best that San Francisco has to offer.” 

"As a long time supporter of Sunday Streets, I'm thrilled that this new San Francisco tradition is back in the heart of District 3," said District 3 Supervisor David Chiu. "I look forward to seeing the streets of Chinatown, North Beach, and Telegraph Hill full of people enjoying a wide range of activities."

The September 18th Chinatown/North Beach Sunday Streets Event starts at 11:00 am and goes to 4:00 pm. The first-ever “Walking Street” event from the Chinatown Gateway to Coit Tower in North Beach is called a Walking Street because this route is for pedestrians only. Chinatown and North Beach merchants have been eager to host Sunday Streets in their historic neighborhoods and organized activities all along the route.

Activities at the September 18 Chinatown-North Beach Walking Street event include:
· To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Ping Pong Diplomacy and the long-awaited return of Sunday Streets to these neighborhoods, the Mayor’s Office and local organizers are presenting a citywide Ping Pong Tournament, which will feature teams fielded from around the City and representatives from local organizations playing for prizes. The Ping Pong Tournament starts with an opening ceremony with Mayor Lee at 9:00 am in Portsmouth Square in Chinatown and ends with a closing award ceremony with the Mayor at 11:30 am at the same location. To sign up your five-member team for the Ping Pong Tournament, go to

· Kerouac Alley will host “A Fair to Remember” art and music festival in the alley, live music and activities in Fresno alley, along upper Grant Avenue to Telegraph Hill Boulevard (via Lombard Street) to Pioneer Park at the top of Coit Tower, where there will be activities and music throughout the day.

· The SF Bicycle Coalition will present “Freedom from Training Wheels” for young cyclists and offer valet bike parking so people can ride to the event and park their bikes safely to enjoy the event by foot.

The Chinatown-North Beach Walking Street event is made possible by the lead sponsorship of Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) with additional support from State Farm Insurance. Other Sunday Streets sponsors include Bank of America (Lead Sponsor for the 2011 Sunday Streets Season), AT&T, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Kaiser Permanente, California Pacific Medical Center, UCSF, Shape Up, The California Endowment, Bi Rite Market, REI, Sports Basement, Mikes Bikes, Bike & Roll, Bay City Bikes, and Blazing Saddles, along with in-kind support from the American Red Cross, Bay Area, City CarShare and media sponsors SF Examiner, Clear Channel and Scoutmob.

This signature San Francisco event draws thousands into the streets for car-free recreation. For more information, go to For information on MUNI routes and vehicle access, call 311 or go to To volunteer, go to