Connecting the City: Stephanie’s Story
Here's a real favorite of mine, a video that Streetfilms was fortunate enough to work on late last year. Connecting the City is a project from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition all about encouraging a vision of the Bay Area that is more bike-friendly to families, seniors and everyday folks who endeavor to ride more than they already do. Connecting the City advocates for a series of safe, protected cycletracks on a number of vital cross-town streets to make it safer and easier to bike.
I got to spend a few days with a Richmond District family who already use their bikes to do short rides to Golden Gate Park and participate in events like Sunday Streets, but they would love to do so much more. In many ways, it is this filmmaker's dream to continue to meet wonderful people like Stephanie and her family and capture them at work, play and rest and hear their thoughts. Folks like these are the magnificent pulse of every city and we need to continue to make healthier cities so they prosper.
Stephanie: [00.03] My name is Stephanie, I’m married to Joe. We have two children, Chiara’s almost six and Luca is almost four. We live in the Richmond district of San Francisco. We love it. We’re a very average San Francisco family. We have to go to the grocery store, we go to doctors appointments, we go to the library, the kids go to school, my daughter does ballet, and all of these trips we have to make somehow.
Stephanie: [00.37] We own a car, we’ve ridden the bus, my son loves the trains and we also use bicycles to get around the city. I’ve met a lot of families that their kids haven’t learnt to ride. They see our kids riding and they say, I wish my child could ride too. I rode my bike, I walked to school. It would be great if my kids could ride to school. I think they’d love it. If people remember when they were kids and they rode, it’s wonderful. It’s wonderful to have the wind in your hair and to be propelling yourself somewhere. It’s exciting. And so every time we do that, the kids have a great time. And I love it because they always nap afterwards.
Stephanie: [01.16] I think that it would be great if we could ride everywhere, and I think in San Francisco it’s small enough, it’s possible. My husband is actually a very good rider. He commutes to work by bicycle. The green divisions on Market Street make me feel a lot more comfortable about my husband’s commute. I like knowing that there’s a place where he can ride safely. But if the city was a little more planned toward riding I would ride more. And I would let my kids ride places that right now I keep them more contained, I keep them in the park, I keep them on the sidewalk. I love the new green bike ways. If we had more of those, I think I would let my kids ride to places like to the library and to the park. There’s a greater sense of community when you do ride. I think you’re closer to your neighbourhood and you see people, you stop, people socialise. It’s a fun family experience.
It would be wonderful to have green lanes throughout San Francisco so
that we could go anywhere by bike, where the old and the young ride,
grandparents ride, families ride, mothers with kids in baskets ride,
fathers commute to the train, and you don’t have to be an excellent
cyclist just to go down to the corner store. You can just get
on your bicycle and go get groceries. It would be wonderful.
I’d let my kids ride all over the place.