Keep on walking

I have one of the best longer-than-tw0-miles-commutes in the City. I haven’t any scientific proof, but I offer this evidence.
– Two BART stops to downtown San Francisco are within walking distance (five blocks)
– Within two blocks are three streetcar lines, two of which go downtown and all of which stop at one of the close-by BART stations.
– If all the rail were out, two trolley bus lines to downtown are two blocks away.

Except for the bus, all these options start have stops on the block where I work. The bus stops across the street.

Added to that, my building offers secure bicycle parking, several nearby garages offer  early bird rates (at $18 a day) and on-street motorcycle parking is about eight dollars a day.

Despite all that, I walked home today. The trip took just under two hours. I’ve done this before from my old location on Fifth Street, but this was my first from the Financial District. Years ago when I lived in Baja Noe, on a day off I extended my morning run from my flat at Dolores and 22nd all the way down to the Embarcadero Freeway and back. Yes, back then the ugly double-decker was still there, and the Embarcadero was nothing like the palm-spangled banner of pedestrian conviviality that it is today.

Almost nothing along my route today was like it was back then, except for my neighborhood. I took alleys at the start, even walking through one building to get to the other side of the block.

In the day, Stevenson Alley was dark, dirty and was home to the homeless. Now it boasts at least three restaurants with outside or patio seating and one high-end converted loft (http://1ecker.com/). Several new buildings have been constructed in the alley to complete its transformation over the three blocks between First and Third.

Bikecart

A cartload of bicycles carted by a bicycle

Turning onto Market Street at New Montgomery I was reminded of the wide sidewalks of Omotesando Street in Tokyo, where the sidewalks were marked by the throngs of people on them. The moving crowd stretched as far as I could see, before the gentle undulations in the topography obscured the walkers. I was surprised at how clean the sidewalk was on Market between Fifth and Seventh – this is San Francisco’s Skid Row.

cleanwalk
A unusually litter-free environment.

I continued up Market past the wind tunnel created by Fox Plaza nee Archstone, and past the Art Deco SF Mart, future home of Twitter. I noted a cutout in the brick sidewalk that led to a gated parking entrance in the building.  The entrance is off the northbound lane, but the intersection just to the west is where care are required to turn off Market Street to detour down Eighth. I wonder how Twitter will spin that?

twitdrive

Unused for years, this may be the future portal for Twitter's Beemers and Mercs. The green in the foreground is the Market Street bike lane.

Crossing Market, I pass San Francisco Honda. To me it is still Boas Honda, owned by a man who was once the city administrative officer. He was convicted back in the day of having sex with a teenage girl from Mission High School. I’ve boycotted the place ever since, except for one regrettably unavoidable brake repair job.

That’s all for now. I’ll finish the description tomorrow, starting with Valencia Street.

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