So I don’t get this bit about The Avenues, this little ditty that’s all about informing supposed “misinformed newcomers,” ’cause it’s coming from the greatest Misinformed San Francisco Newcomer of all: Gannett Co. Inc’s The Bold Italic, a blog about the SF Bay Area and, oddly, Los Angeles too, a little bit.
I’ll tell you, I know all about the Richmond and Sunset Districts. I’ve actually lived out there, believe it or not, during part of my quarter-century in the City and County (but mostly the City) of SF. And, I’ll tell you, these quite similar areas have their good points, but also they have their bad points.
And one, just one, of these bad points is the Avenues are cut off from the rest of the city, owing to geography. And this fact isn’t helped by our famously-horrible transit system (which might at some point get better, like a BART subway to La Playa or something) but also our poorly-designed network of roads (which is congested already, by design, and is only going to get slower, by design). Things are so bad out there that bike riders are tempted use streetcar-only tunnels to get back to the City Proper.
And then there’s the fog issue, which isn’t going away no matter what. Some people living out there claim it doesn’t really exist. But it does, I knows it.
And then there’s the concomitant ironic naming issue. Let’s start with The SUNset District. Cover your eyes, avert your gaze, West Bay residents:
“If you start at the Bay Bridge and head west along most major streets in San Francisco, you’ll eventually get to a magical land of misery known as the Sunset. The name is a joke, and perhaps even a way to trick tourists: The sun rarely visits the Sunset, not even when it sets. The primary weather element in the Sunset is fog—thick, endless, depressive clouds of it that wash up from the ocean to completely saturate the land. I lived in the Sunset for a single, terrible year. Before I moved there, I used to be one of those snobby city-dwellers who’d look down on suburbanites who couldn’t handle San Francisco’s famously capricious climate. I’d heard the Sunset’s weather wasn’t great, but hey, how bad could it be?
“It was bad. Too bad for me; after our lease was up, my wife and I moved to the suburbs. Looking back, what bothered me most wasn’t the terrible climate—though I did hate it—but the vast difference between the Sunset’s weather and the weather everywhere else. Whatever meteorological patterns applied in normal parts of San Francisco didn’t seem to apply to the Sunset, which meant that forecasts for the city held no sway there. If the weatherman said it was going to be 80 and sunny, it was probably 55 and cloudy at my house.“
And now, let’s move on to The Richmond District:
“Did the sand dunes in the northwest corner of the city look like Richmond, Australia? One story for the naming of the district is that early settler George Turner Marsh thought so, and named the area around his home such. (Other sources credit a neighborhood booster named George Fletcher for suggesting the name.)”
I’ll tell you, the average daytime temperature in Richmond, Victoria [not the other Richmond in NSW, which is prolly even hotter], Australia these days is 84 degrees freaking Fahrenheit – isn’t it ironic, dontcha think?
So, transportation and climate are just two reasons why rents are lower Out There in The Outer Lands, in the Great Sand Waste, you know, in comparison with the City Proper.
I could go on and on, and, as a matter of fact, I have, and it pisses some people off. Sorry. I just don’t understand why certain people are so defensive about where they live.
So enjoy your pride, Avenues People…
…but please don’t mislead those “misinformed newcomers,” as you call them.
Especially if you yourself is a well-financed but struggling start-up blog hailing from a Fortune 500 company out of Northern Virginia…