The joys of driving in San Francisco

If you’ve regularly parked in a lot east of Van Ness you’ve had an experience like this: You rush to your parking lot to retrieve your car only to find it jammed in behind half a dozen other, nicer vehicles that must be moved before you can retrieve your turn-of-the-century Honda.

After those rigs are re-situated, the attendant realizes he can no longer remember which key in his tiny kiosk belongs to you. Thirty minutes later, you have your car but your schedule for the day is shot.
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19 Responses to The joys of driving in San Francisco

  1. Mickey says:

    It is the absolute wild west here in SF. Traffic, crime, drugs, homelessness. The crazy shit I see on a daily basis has numbed me to what is normal and not. I recently took the family to Texas where we are looking to move and we realized just how bad CA is and just how much it has negatively impacted our personalities/outlook. This is a bad place.

    Traffic wise, I ride a motorcycle, splitting lanes, 90% of the time. It’s death defying to be sure, but my F150 is just not feasible.

    • Wirecutter says:

      When I lived in Modesto, my wife was constantly wanting to go to San Francisco. She loved that city as long as she didn’t have to drive.
      After a couple trips, I started leaving the jap car at home and taking my old 64 Chevy farm truck that already had so many dents and scratches in it that any new ones wouldn’t even be noticed.

      • Mickey says:

        I’m a multi-generation native San Franciscan and I encourage people to go elsewhere. If people do come here, I encourage them to keep the stay short, keep their car at home, and keep their spidy-senses at 100% until they leave. I’m in Modesto for work periodically, and while I never found it to be a “nice” place, it too appears to be getting worse. The only “normal” in this state can be found in the Sierras, but even they are changing.

        I can’t wait to get out.

        • Wirecutter says:

          Modesto was a great place to grow up in the 60s and 70s, but during the 80s and 90s all the Fucking Bay Area people began moving eastward. First Tracy, then Manteca and finally Modesto.
          And I do miss the Sierras – not so much the foothills, but the high country and the eastern slope.

          • CC says:

            All of southern California was a great place to grow up then -WTF happened? Started going to shit when Brown became gov. and all the Mexicans decided to stay after the harvest was done.
            Ditto Sierras – that and the beaches (probably not anymore) the things I miss most, besides my vanishing youth.

          • the other other Andrew says:

            Oh, the Smokies have a great power in them, too.

            Especially if you like caves.

            And there are small gold deposits and gemstones to pan for in a lot of small creeks.

            • Wirecutter says:

              I need mountains that are at least 10,000 feet tall – younger mountains, you know? If I can walk a hundred yards without breathing hard, I need to get higher.

              • FaCubeItches says:

                “If I can walk a hundred yards without breathing hard, I need to get higher.”

                We gotchoo covered – whachoo need? Cocaine? Heroin? Meth?

                – The Cartels

        • SAM says:

          We are all so sorry for you.
          [and I’m in the UK!!!]

  2. Mickey says:

    I have a place in Tuolumne County, town called Twain Harte I’m sure you know. Fucking Bay Area people have pushed all the way up to there. Haven’t quite taken over, but times are a changing. Sonora now has a permanent and growing homeless population. Mexican gang shit has moved into the county, a mix of people leaving the valley and headed east and illegal pot grows in the hills. Shit piled too high along the coast so it’s sliding further and further east!

    • Wirecutter says:

      Yeah, I’m very familiar with Twain Harte. Nice town back in the day – as was Sonora. Before I left 3 years ago, Sonora was a damned mess. I did everything I could to avoid it.

  3. BSHJ says:

    I have a hard time visualizing cars in “traffic” that deep, much less parked that deep.
    And people call that ‘living’ ?

  4. STW says:

    From when I moved to California when I was twelve in the late 1960s to when I left the state population doubled to some 36 million. I enjoyed running over to SF when I was in college in the 70s but that city is long gone. Now the largest contiguous area in the US over 10,000 feet in elevation starts an hour from my house, much of it a wilderness area. I can see two other mountain ranges from my street. Luckily I was born here so I’m not considered one of those damn Californians. (Anyone reading this would hate it. The winters are brutal.)

    • FaCubeItches says:

      “I enjoyed running over to SF when I was in college in the 70s ”

      Me too!
      – Zodiac

  5. nines says:

    I have been forced by life and death situations to drive into San Francisco three different times over the last year and a half… after not setting foot there for some fifteen years… now thirty-five years after spending most of my time there and always grappling with the parking lot lunacy.

    Almost none of the parking lots in San Francisco bother with attendants anymore. All automated.

    The smaller ones east of Van Ness, of course, can’t do that, but have in my entire experience, going back nearly fifty years, had the same ludicrously labor intensive arrangement. Only thing different now would be fewer employees doing more work for less money.

    Nowadays, best advice is to leave nothing in your car, even the trunk, and watch your step.

    Tourists are better advised to take public transportation into the city. BART, bus or ferry. And use taxis or trollies between destinations. Or, of course, pick somewhere else to spend your precious vacation time.

  6. SgtBob says:

    A friend comfortable with herbal stress reduction got drafted, went to Vietnam, got wounded and after discharge from hospital and the Army decided to make his home in Haight-Ashbury area in 1969. “It was mean,” he said a few years back. He got out, now lives somewhere in the Cascades. Another friend, same RVN unit as first, still lives in the SF area. He hates it, but has not moved. I’ve never been there, so have nothing to say about why people stay.

    • Some Chinese Guy says:

      It’s like Battered Spouse Syndrome or Stockholm Syndrome. You hate the abuse but you sympathize with your abuser to some extant. For some of us it’s home and leaving it is almost unthinkable.

Play nice.