I didn’t used to have to drive much when I was unemployed, but now that I have a job and have to hop in my car every day I’ve realized something that I haven’t in quite a while. The Streets of San Francisco pretty much suck. The street outside my house hasn’t been redone in over 30 years. While I am seeing streets being repaved all over the city for some reason my street seems to be at the bottom of the list.
My wife and I were watching a TV show a couple of months ago about technology and how there’s a machine that can drive down a street and grind up the old asphalt and mix it in with a little bit of new asphalt and lay down the new street very quickly. I’ve seen these machines at work in the city and they can redo a block in a day or two. I’m sure they’re a bit costly, but compared to a group of 10-15 guys working for two weeks to do the same thing they probably pay off much quicker.
Every rainy season we have in SF we start to see cracks in the street that get bigger and turn into potholes. The only places I’ve ever been where the streets are marginally worse is New York City. Driving in your car gets thrown around just like my drive into work everyday. I need to have my wheels realigned on my car at least once if not twice a year because of all the potholes and uneven surfaces. This reminded me of my first trip back East to visit my wife before we were married. They have to deal with snow and the salt they put on the roads so that’s a lot more hard on the roads than what we have out here and they have to replace the roads more often. Driving back East in Massachusetts and Connecticut was like driving on glass. The roads were so smooth and the car just hugged the road like were driving on a LeMan’s race track. It was beautiful.
I know San Francisco has a lot of other things to deal with than the roads and they are replacing the roads quite a bit lately. They just seem to not be using those new machines that make the change come about faster as much as they could. It has been worse I’ll give you that. I remember a drive downtown where there was a large pothole that I didn’t see until it was too late to avoid and when I hit it the pothole actually shifted my car from drive into neutral. That’s not right. Most of the work is down is patchwork and I remember when I was first learning to drive how there was a strip jutting out from the parking space in front of my house that if I could back up just enough to hit the little hump I knew my car was in the right space. I’ve got a driveway now to park in and I shouldn’t have to think about the street humps [not speed humps as they call them now] to know how to park. Yes, as I said earlier there are a lot of other things that need help in the city, but if you have to drive in the city your car gets more wear and tear than it needs to.
“Here comes the rain again, falling on my head and it’s drizzly, falling on my head, but it’s not an ocean.” —with apologies to Annie Lennox.
Yes, we have some rain for the first time since the end of January. This contrary to what many people are thinking is not a bad thing. It used to be that San Francisco was a city with two kinds of weather, raining and gonna rain. I never remember it quite like that as there was a fair amount of heavy fog mixed in that my friends from Los Angeles who didn’t know better thought was rain. No that’s not rain, for you guys it’s rain when water from the sky stings your eyes and rusts out your cars.
San Francisco rain is different. It’s usually pretty mild and we have less stormy days with heavy rains than we do sunny days. Thank you global warming. I can’t even remember the last time I needed an umbrella when I went out in the rain, but I usually only had a short distance to walk to get to my car so that isn’t so bad. Here’s a few things that I like about San Francisco rain:
- I don’t have to water my garden: My father always disagreed with me on this. He was always out there every day rain or shine watering the lawn and the garden in the back. I have found this caused him to grow more weeds that he had to get out there on nice days to pull. Now while our lawn is a little patchy at the moment, but that’s from the gophers we had, we don’t have to run the sprinkler system from December to April cutting our water bill by tons.
- I don’t have to wash the car: Everyone’s car looks wet in the rain. When it’s dry out you have to think about how to make your car gleam and shine if you’re into trying to bag ultra sexy women who will drain your bank account, but I’m happily married and have no need to drain my already drained bank accounts for a piece of eye candy on my arm.
- It helps clean the dirt off the streets: Well, maybe not as much as a power sprayer, but you’d be surprised at how much dirt there is out there on your house and trees and cars. Previous to the rain of Monday morning my car was beginning to look like something from King Tut’s tomb when it was first opened now it looks brand new. San Francisco tends to have rather loose soil that is easily moved around by our rather breezy wind conditions so the rain helps this out somewhat, but it leads to another condition as well…
Pollen run off. This should have been number four, but it’s so big right now that it deserves its own section. When you’re walking down the streets you might see puddles with yellowy streaks running through them, kind of like the picture to the left, but not so much. I was reading sfgate.com about the upcoming storms and someone commented that they were happy because it would wash away the pollen and her allergies would go away for awhile.
I hadn’t really thought of that until we made our trip out to the local Trader Joe’s to try and find some produce that wasn’t already past it sale date. In the puddles as we were walking towards the doors to the shop you could see these yellow streaked puddles everywhere. I was wondering if it was really pollen or not and dropped pollen run off into google and found the picture to the left.
Yep, it is definitely pollen run off you’re seeing in the streets. The storms are supposed to be strongest Tuesday night through Wednesday so hopefully we will get all of this washed away and be left with a much cleaner city in the end. Somewhere along in my life I realized I had developed allergies to pollen and I have no idea why. I suppose I was having too much of a good time and the gods said, “This should fix that.” I’ve notice that I haven’t had as much need to blow my nose as much so I like the rain. It makes the plants grow for free and keeps our city clean. Now maybe if we could have it be a warm rain for a couple of days we could make it OK for the homeless to go naked and get a free shower and wash their clothes.