Category Archives: San Francisco

Bay Lights – San Francisco Bay Bridge to have amazing LED display

After a trip to San Francisco several years ago, I noted that the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge would be considered the signature bridge in most cities, but it is second to the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. The Bay Bridge with its two back-to-back suspension bridges is majestic and beautiful in its own right. Now, an incredible LED display, called “Bay Lights” is going make the bridge even more spectacular. From the SF Chronicle (‘Bay Lights’ a shining moment for region):

“Bay Lights” incorporates 25,000 LED lights on the west span of the Bay Bridge, and the software-generated patterns of light will glow from dusk to 2 a.m. for a full two years.

It’s a coup for the Bay Area to get a public art piece of this size and importance. The scope of the project is breathtaking – an 1.8-mile span from Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco, a crew of eight electricians working at night to attach the lights to the suspender cables of the bridge, an $8 million cost (privately fundraised, thank you) – and making it all happen was an incredible feat.

The Times has video:

Artist Leo Villareal created custom software to interpret the traffic, water and other movements in the area and light up the suspension cables on the spans that connect San Francisco to Treasure/Yerba Buena Island which is just under two miles. The privately-funded $8 million public art is a commemoration of the Bay Bridge’s 75th anniversary and will shine from dusk to 2 a.m. for two years.

The Bay Bridge opened in 1936 and used to carry US 40 and US 50. Now, it carries Interstate 80.

On the Oakland side of the bridge, construction continues on a replacement for the old cantilever bridge (a portion that collapsed during the 1989 Battle of the Bay World Series earthquake) with a self-anchored, one-tower suspension span. That tower was incorporated into the Golden State Warriors logo, a clever homage to a previous suspension bridge logo.

Now I really want to visit San Francisco again. But then again, I always want to visit San Francisco.

Highway markers from Shields Up!

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75 years of the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge
I have one regret from my 2007 trip to San Francisco — I didn’t drop everything and get to the Golden Gate Bridge the day I arrived, when it was sunny. Nevertheless, seeing it from the Wharf at Sunset was breathtaking, as was seeing it up close, driving on it, walking on it on a grey day.

[flickr : Photos tagged with goldengatebridge/slideshow]

US 101 California style signThe magnificent span is celebrated its 75th anniversary on Sunday. There is a 75th anniversary site and the San Francisco Chronicle has coverage ina couple places as well. The Atlantic, oddly enough, has a 10+ minutes video of the building of the bridge and another article called The Color, Romance, and Impact of the Golden Gate at 75.

I can’t wait to see it again.

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Farewell, San Francisco

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Nearly three weeks after the fact, over 600 photographs and a couple dozen blog posts later, I’m going to “say goodbye” to the city by the bay. We had a great trip out there and thank David for hosting us.

Be sure to check out Erica’s [flickr : set from San Francisco/slideshow]

My entire San Francisco flickr collection

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Places I went in 2007

Generally speaking, I had to either spend the night or sit down for a meal somewhere for it to qualify.

Alexandria, Va.
Annapolis, Md.
Arlington, Va.
Avalon, NJ
Bellefonte, Pa.
Daly City, Calif.
Eatontown, N.J.
Edison, N.J.
Hamilton, N.J.
Harrisburg, Pa.
Lake Harmony, Pa.
Lemoyne, Pa.
Lewistown, Pa.
McLean, Va.
Mill Valley, Calif.
Morristown, N.J.
Mount Vernon, Va.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Potomac, Md.
Princeton, N.J.
Reedsville, Pa.
San Francisco, Calif.
Ship Bottom, N.J.
Spray Beach, N.J.
Springfield, Pa.
State College, Pa.
Stone Harbor, N.J.
Virginia Beach, Va.
Vienna, Va.
Washington, D.C.

Northern-most point: Blakeslee, Pa.
Southern-most point: Virginia Beach, Va.
Western-most point: San Francisco, Calif. (by car, Bedford, Pa.)
Eastern-most point: Bay Head, N.J.

I doubt I’ll get any further west this year, but I hope to get further north, east and south. Hopefully, New York and Boston can make it back on the list too.

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Coit Tower

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SAN FRANCISCO — We stopped by Coit Tower, which may or may not be the world’s largest concrete fire hose nozzle, on our second day of the trip. We took a cab, driven by an American oddly enough, up Telegraph Hill and took in the excellent views. After we had enough of the parking lot, we went into the tower, looked at the frescoes with a strong labor theme and paid our admission for the elevator ride to the top. Once there we took in the even better views and took a lot of photographs.

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[flickr : my photos tagged with coittower/slideshow]

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Riding San Francisco’s rails

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SAN FRANCISCO — Throughout our trip, we relied on mass transit to get around. Our first ride was on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), a third-rail powered train that functions more as commuter line than a traditional urban subway. BART serves San Francisco International Airport directly and stops within several blocks of David’s apartment in the Mission. That proved to be quite convenient for us.
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BART trains are wider than a typical subway car and have a very smooth ride. They also stop at predefined locations on the platform, unlike WMATA, and usually arrived into the station aligned with them. The cars are clean and comfortable. The stations are unspectacular though. Some of them were ugly brick that reminded me of an old Burger King.

Once in the city, we mostly relied on the MUNI (San Francisco Municipal Railway), a light rail/trolley system. Along Market Street, the MUNI runs several lines, both above and below ground. We generally took the subway into downtown from the Church Street station near David’s. We also used the various Embarcadero surface lines to get around.

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We both liked the San Francisco had acquired old trolleys from other cities like Milan, Philadelphia and others to run on the F Line. Riding them was like visiting a trolley museum. The trolley in the above photograph was from Milan.

Overall, we were pleased with San Francisco’s mass transit offerings. Like Washington, San Francisco was one of the few cities to reject an extensive freeway system and I can’t help but think they were right to build transit instead.

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Another ballpark I’ve never been in

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SAN FRANCISCO — A few years ago I had a page called BALLPARKS I HAVE SORT OF BEEN TO1? It was a collection of photos of me standing in front of MLB stadia that I had never seen a game in. At one time there were six, but I have since been to RFK Stadium and Citizens Bank Park for regular season games. Le Stade Olympique is no longer a MLB venue. I could probably add Nationals Park to the list, but it hasn’t hosted any regular season games yet.

Any way, I’ve added a new ballpark to the list — Pacific Bell SBC AT&T Park. We stopped by it on the night we flew back. It was dark and my camera doesn’t take great night photos, so it is not the best example. Also, it isn’t the best photograph of me either, a longstanding tradition with this series.

1This wasn’t originally in Blogger — I just imported it.

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I-80 terminus

I-80 weatern terminus
SAN FRANCISCO — I can now say that I have been at both ends of Interstate 80. We jumped on it from US 101 at its western terminus for our brief jaunt to Treasure Island. I have been to the eastern terminus at I-95 in New Jersey several times. By the way, I think the eastern terminus needs to be somewhere in New York City, so that it can cross the George Washington Bridge. It would be fitting to have to big bridges on opposite ends of the road.

I-80 is easily the longest interstate that I have seen from both ends. The next longest is probably I-78, though I may have been to both ends of I-87, I can’t say for sure. I’ve passed both ends of I-84, but I wasn’t on the eastern end, I was on I-90 (Mass Pike). I have been on all of I-66 and I-68 too.

I-80′s current terminus was once the end of US 40 and US 50 until 1964, when California wiped out most of its US routes to avoid duplication with interstate highways. I can understand getting rid of US 40 since there is an I-40 in Southern California, but would it have been so bad to keep US 50 as a sea-to-sea route? I have been to the eastern end in Ocean City, Md. Additionally, extending US 50 back to San Francisco would mean that US 50 was routed over a Bay Bridge twice since there is the William Preston Lane Jr. (Chesapeake Bay) Bridge in Maryland. One of the spans of that cross is even the same X truss style as San Francisco’s Bay Bridge.

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