Welcome to the online studio of Francisco Mattos, built w/ printed samples, design work, and personal projects. For a more formal setting, please see my online portfolio.
August 2017 ]-
Transit Master Plan
[ completed ]
Central Subway [ in progress ]
Bus Rapid Transit
[ in progress ]
STAGE IV Geary
Bus Rapid Transit
[ planning stage ]
THE CRUCIBLE OF SAINT FRANCIS
In 2015, then San Francisco Supervisor Scott Weiner dusted off a noble notion and resolutely restated, in economical terms, the city’s need for a subway system.
“We are making progress one step at a time [and] will continue to transform our transportation systems to reflect the reality of our residents.” In situ since after World War II: an unworldly undertaking to shape the future by laying down two rows of tracks, in a cruciform pattern, spanning the city grid. To be deplloyed over four stages, it was an aobtainable plan.
Having been passed down w/ many revisions and passed across many civic hands, it has come to pass that Stage I, which has been acieved. In 2005, the T-Third Lightrail Line became operational. It runs southwards from the Embarcadero at South Beach, passing Mission Bay, Dogpatch, Bayview-Hunters Point, Visitation Valley, and ending near the city and county line.
This article is the story of Stage II. It concerns the Central Subway dig. These underground tracks will allow the T-Line to reach further and end in Chinatown, the most densely populated neighborhood in the city. It will add inner city transit subway stations and can connect to BART, among other niceties.
¶Stage III, the Van Ness Boulevard Improvement Project, was begun in October 2016. Its first indication was the permanent removal of all left turns on Van Ness save two when traveling north: at Hayes and at Lombard. In partnership w/ the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration, this build will bring the first bus rapid transit lanes to San Francisco.
¶Stage IV, is the Geary Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit project, which promises to bring traffic improvements to a critical corridor ferrying some 52,000 daily bus riders btw. downtown and Sutro Heights, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a distance of some five miles.
Stage II: Central Subway Dig
Removing the 30-Stockton, the densest inner-city bus line in the nation, off the streets by moving it underground.
San Francisco’s Central Subway, set to open December 2018, will replace a portion of the 30-Stockton bus route from about Chinatown down to the train depot, by moving underground and morphing the bus into an extension of the Muni Metro light-rail system. The aim is to alleviate downtown traffic overall and enhance mass transit. Central Subway will become a new tunnel intersecting under Market St, where BART and Muni Metro tunnels already exist.
PORTAL The nether passage to Chinatown begins appropriately, w/ a tunnel (lit green) beginning on 4th Street at Bryant. The tunnel ends at Stockton and Washington, where a row of early 20th century 2-storey brick buildings were sacrificed to progress.
The dig consists of a tunnel for northbound trains, and a parallel tunnel for southbound.
Beginning on 4th St at Bryant in the South of Market district, it will descend to a new depth by the time it reaches Market St, and end in Chinatown, w/ 3 underground stations: at 4th and Folsom, at Union Square, and at Stockton and Washington.
4th was and had always been a straight shot when driving from North Beach, going through Chinatown, passing Union Square, crossing Market St, ending on 4th St w/ its connection points to the Bay Bridge or the Peninsula. This comfortable conduit has been upended forever, good because there will be no buses, not good because there will be less street parking.
Which will produce some 8300 feet of excavated soil and mud, and slowly making a one-way trip to Treasure Island. John Funghi, project manager for the Central Subway, shares some choice qualities he encountered during this on-going project, “We’ve encountered some pretty good ground. Competent ground that’s very conducive to tunneling.”
When the light-rail emerges to the surface at 4th and Bryant, it will travel down to the Embarcadero where existing tracks await. The new surface tracks on 4th St are attached to concrete slabs located below the pavement, and then concrete pavement is placed so that only the tops of the rails are visible.
Yerba Buena / Moscone Station
There used to be a gas station slash auto mechanic shop on the corner of 4th and Folsom; at that time both were 4-lane roads. In 2013 the business closed and passed into the hands of Muni Metro.
Very soon after, midden was detected, and archaeologists arrived and samples collected. Construction created traffic chock points, and roadside electronic signs in the vicinity were set up so as to notify drivers of lane changes, detours and anticipated delay times. It was not enough to stem traffic initially – but eventually drivers knew what not to do.
Yerba Buena / Moscone is an underground light-rail station located at the corner of 4th and Folsom in the South of Market District, near the Moscone Center.
Union Square / Market Street Station
Misfortune smiled on the grande dame of easy shopping, the Union Square Garage, when a corner on Geary was requisitioned to be site the new underground station. The underground garage was demolished and a dig begun to meet the tunnels, some 120 feet below.
Beginning in 2015, the first 3 blocks of Stockton was closed completely to traffic and the 30-Stockton bus detoured. The blocks were also dug down to the tunnels, to be rebuilt upwards.
In preparation for this massive build, an equally large-scale project had begun two years earlier so as to relocate all underground utility lines nearby; in effect, and upgrading the shopping district w/ state-of-the-art coverage to boot. Once again, lane closures were the norm. Cars eventually got the hint and vacated the ribbon of road which was what became of the first blocks of Geary, and left its only lane to the behemoths of urban mass transit, Muni’s 38-Geary “accordion” buses.
Union Square / Market Street is an underground light-rail station located on the corner of Stockton and Geary at Union Square, w/ a connecting concourse to Market St.
There is to be a Market St entrance to Central Subway, where Ellis meets Stockton, and where an Apple store once stood. This way to connect, which already exists for Muni Metro as well as the BART Powell Street station, will now get to Central Subway, the southern entrance to the Union Square Muni Metro station. HISTORIC SF
The annex will be across from John’s Grill, a San Francisco landmark mnade famnous by the novel The Maltese Falcon. It will also be a neighbor to an art deco refrigerator w/ period neon, aka the Stockton O’Farrell Garage.
For this annex to happen, Apple had to give up its first San Francisco store (and second in the world) and to be relocated 3 blocks up Stockton, on a corner that faces Union Square.
The vacated space will then undergo a sea change, taking on what looks to be a distinctive archway containing illuminated wall signs. The facade is terra cotta, and there's even room to shoehorn a storefront into the mix. This block of Ellis is also being eyed as a cul-de-sac in the future.
The annex is to be a 3-level concourse of pedestrian walkways, escalators and platforms, linking Market St to Central Subway below street level.
From Union Square, the tunnel will continue under the Stockton Tunnel and end up in Chinatown, becoming the current terminus of the subway.
During construction, an unusual opportunity occurred w/ the death of Rose Pak, on September 18 2016, from kidney failure; she was 68. Hers was one of the voices advocating for the subway to be built, along a route two thirds of nearby households do not own a car. Schooled in journalism before coming into her own as a Chinatown power broker, it was thought apt to name the under-construction station after her. When protesters showed up, a spokesperson for Central Subway tried to allay their concerns that this would not come to pass but instead brewed ambiguity by stating: “There is no standard. Stations have traditionally been named after streets.”
Chinatown is an underground light-rail station located at the corner of Stockton and Washington in the produce-&-meat district of Chinatown.
4th and Brannan Station
Confined underground for most of its 1.7 mile route, Central Subway emerges at Bryant St in SoMa for the last 3 blocks of its journey, and where there's to be a street station.
Construction of surface ligh rail tracks was achieved in stages, by closing off sections of the road, even down to one lane. The new tracks will connect w/ existing ones at 4th and King, from the Caltrain station. 4th and Brannan is an at-grade light-rail station, consisting of an island platform located in the heart of SoMa, on the corner of a rare two-way street South of the Slot.
| CENTRAL SUBWAY FOOTNOTES
30-STOCKTON BUS —
Although the route from Chinatown to the train station will now be underground, the 30-Stockton bus will still run btw. North Beach and the Marina. A transit priority project will kick in, ensuring increased frequency of service, and safety improvements for a safer walk to and from bus stops. The new route goes down Columbus Ave, skirting Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Fort Mason before ending up at the Palace of Fine Arts, w/in sight of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Back in November 2014, changes had came to the 30-Stockton bus route. Manned by staff standing at an open house and standing in front of blowups of architectural renderings, armed w/ printed literature, the beginning of the end of the surface route began, and details on the phase-out emerged. Fittingly, no formal presentation took place that evening. Visitors learned about upcoming changes to the route in a 90-minute expo alive w/ questions and answers. The pool of interested citizens was enlarged by inclusive text in Cambodian, Tagalog, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian, Spanish and Chinese. The case was made for moving underground the most difficult route for inner-city bus drivers west of the Mississippi.
An idea was knocked around during the Central Subway dog, to give the 30-Stockton a rapid transit feel but it never left the drawing table. After leaving Chinatown and emerging on the Union Square side of the Stockton Tunnel, the bus would have rolled onto a red lane going but two blocks up Sutter before taking Mason to Market, where it was to become a dedicated bus-only lane down 5th St to Townsend and its terminus.
TWIN BORES "Big Alma" and "Mom Chung", nicknames given by the workmen. Each is 22 feet in diameter. 2013
CENTRAL SUBWAY TUNNEL —
Ground was broken for the tunnel on Febiruary 9 2010, and 4th btw. Bryant and Brannan Sts closed off. The era of 4th St having 4 lanes was comeing to an end. A launch box was then constructed on-site, a bore put into place, and a portal subsequently opening up.
From the minute the first jackhammer was turned on the rats came running out. Disturbed in their habitual haunts, no nearby pavement or park was safe from them. They fanned out on all sides, north and south; four-legged immigrants seeking other shores.
LAUNCH BOX The set-up to open a portal, 4th and Bryant (4-27-2013).¶
The two-bore system consisted of double rotating cutterheads, each within its own cylindrical steel shell, which are then pushed forward along the axis of the tunnel all the while excavating the ground through the cutterheads. This boring system is propelled using hydraulic jacks thrusting against the tunnel path.
A modern cut-and-cover method of tunneling, Sequential Excavation, was used in this dig. During trench excavation, and after the bore has passed by, a box frame structure is immediately put into place, and fortification of the backfill then begun.
VICTORIAN VEXATION Tossing a monkey wrench into easy plans to extend Central Subway on through to Fisherman's Wharf is the fact that a national monument happens to run down three blocks of Columbus Ave.
Nonetheless, plans for an extension to Fisherman's Wharf (and extending it to the Presidio) are in the works.
This is slow progress. Exposed earth is shored up as well as support introduced in order to maintain structural integrity. Steel shields are then erected to support the excavated ground until the proper tunnel lining can be built. Sequential excavation employs a “top-down” or “bottoms-up” approach.
Later on, he shuttered Pagoda Palace theatre in North Beach was sacrificed and in its ruins the exit portal was made. Back in 2013, the owners of the theatre had reached an agreement w/ SFMTA to tear down the last grand cinema showcase in the city, at Columbus and Powell, and use its site for removal of the tunnel boring machines. This allowed the bores to break through to their North Beach extraction shaft, and in June 2014 the boring operation came to an end. They were then disassembled and taken off-site.
LANDMARK + WAYFINDING ART —
The Central Subway Public Art Program has been charged w/ finding and mounting public art.
In the past, cross the ocean, to find a gold mine. At present, open up the grounds, to cast a silver dragon.
:: CARIN MUI
For this staton, which is a street level boarding platform, sculptor Moto Ohtake will be sending over a 40-ft marquee pole w/ 31 rotating points, MICROCOSMIC, callibrated to interact w/ local windy patterns into (sometimes) discernible (or not) patterns in physics.
¶ YERBA BUENA
Roxy Paine may or may not bring a 110-foot tapering tree branch, NODE, to the plaza.+Leslie Shows for sure will hang a mega-size pix, FACE C/Z, of a speck of “fool’s gold” by the ticketing area. +Catherine Wagner’s
1970s photographs documenting the building of Moscone Center will be rendered as “sculptural reliefs” and sandblased or laser etched onto stone and metal walls, on the concourse level.
¶ UNION SQUARE
Sculptors Jim Campbell & Werner Koltz will ribbon the overhead spaces w/ an elongated piece known as the ILLUMINATED SCROLL. +
Duo artsits who go by the handle Hughen Starkweather will integrate CONVERGENCE: COMMUTE PATTERNS onto glass surfaces around the entryway.
+Erwin Radl’s LUCY IN THE SKY descends from the ceiling of the main concourse and lights up.
FACE C/Z Leslie Shows' blowup of Fools Gold will be found inside the Moscone station.¶ CHINATOWN
Storyteller Tomie Arai sets down an "exploded" piece, URBAN ARCHEOLOGY, promising a station journey through history. +
Paper cut artist Yumei Hou will install two large-scale wall pieces in the mezzanine and ticketing area, depicting the spontaneous SPROUT DANCE of Chinese folklore. +
Poet Carin Mui’s winning couplet will be found in the plaza, having been rendered by calligrapher Terry Luk in glass. +Clare Rojas’s nameless piece fills a cavern wall on the concourse level w/ textile samples patterned in the style of cathedral quilting.
¶ TEMPORARY MURALS
Randy Colosky covered the Folsom side of a construction barricade w/ ELLIPSES IN THE KEY OF BLUE, marking a formal moment in the construction project, according to the artist’s statement.
Kota Ezawa covered an overhead 150-ft long stretch of walkway w/ a series of clever paintings, PANORAMA, featuring diverse landscapes all w/ a common horizon.
TRANSIT MASTER PLAN STAGE I : T THIRD STREET LIGHT-RAIL —
Seeing the need to reestablish rail service in a soon-to-be congested corridor, construction of a 5.1 mile track system along the 3rd St corridor was undertaken and the first segment of the 3rd Street Light-rail became operational in April 2007.
For the first time in 50 years, tracks run again on the east side of town, once again bringing trains to Mission Bay, Mission Rock, Pier 70, Dogpatch, Bayview, Visitacion Valley, and Little Hollywood. It’s but a stone’s throw from the Design District and the neighborhoods of Potrero Hill, Portola, and Candlestick Housing Development, while nearby lies Hunters Point, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior and, in the next county, Brisbane.
The T Line continues north of Mission Bay, making a right at 4th St onto King St and can travel along the Embarcadero to the Market St Tunnel. The Central Subway, when operational, will become an extension of the T Line.
TRANSIT MASTER PLAN STAGE II: CENTRAL SUBWAY —
The story of Phase II is the subject of this article, concerning the tunneling work. This new subway will be an extension of the Muni Metro T Third Line, and is expected to be operational in December 2018, reaching SoMA, Union Square and Chinatown.
The important Dogpatch turnaround project, on the planning board for the past 15 years, came to fruition in 2017, when a $10 million federal grant came through. This will give the T-Line an ability to loop back, one especially sought-after during heavy commute times, to keep the masses transiting. To that end, new tracks will now be laid down on 18th, 19th and Illinois streets, for a much-sought-after turnout.
An unexpected ability to have ferry service to Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda came about w/ a planned new ferry terminal and water taxi landing to go along w/ under-construction stadium the new Golden State Warriors home, at the foot of 16th St. It will then be a short walk over to the T-Line. Read more.
TRANSIT MASTER PLAN STAGE III:
VAN NESS AVENUE BUS RAPID TRANSIT —
The Van Ness BRT project will take place in two timelines, after some prep work has first taken place. In order for roadwork stretching sidewalk to sidewalk to even begin, Van Ness, which doubles as a conduit for Highway 101 as it spills off the Golden Gate Bridge on its way down the peninsula, has already lost a lane in each direction to become two-lane roads.
Almost all left-turn lanes have been taken out of service permanently. One still left standing is the left turn from Van Ness northbound onto Hayes, which will not be allowed any more come April 2017. The medians will be removed, and all trees save 12 will be removed.
Step 1 can then proceed in earnest, which addresses the utility lines and water main. Work will replace an 1800s-era water main system that’s been in continuous operation since it was built. All(?) 19th century street lamps still left standing on Van Ness will also be removed. Two corners have been identified as initial starting points: at Lombard and at Sutter, where left-turn lanes for both streets will still be allowed, so as to funnel (inadvertent) traffic off Van Ness. Both work units will proceed southwards, gobbling up parking spots as they proceed block by block. Afterwards, the other side of Van Ness gets the same treatment, but going northwards. This phase is expected to take two years.
Step 2 entails building out the new bus lanes in the center of the road as well as installing boarding islands. After that Van Ness will be repaved, and new sidewalks and street lighting installed, w/ new landscaping incl. rain gardens.
Some bus stops will be eliminated or moved. The new bi-directional stations will no longer stop at Pacific, Pine, Post and Grove Sts.
Everything will be rebuilt from 30 feet below ground to 30 feet above ground. This phase will be for one year, w/ a completion date of 2020.
After that, physically separated transit-only lanes w/ low-floor buses and station-like stops, running both directions along the center of Van Ness, for the use of Muni and Golden Gate Transit buses, will happen. When the overhead contact system that powers electric buses are replaced, and the 47-Van Ness and 49-Van Ness-Mission begin using them, in cahoots w/ coordinated traffic signals and limited stops, they will become the city’s first bus rapid-transit lines, slated to run every four to five minutes.
TRANSIT MASTER PLAN STAGE IV:
GEARY BUS RAPID TRANSIT PROJECT —
Similar to the Van Ness BRT project, the Geary BRT project will occur across two timelines. The first will cover the route from Transbay Terminal in South of Market to Stanyan and the start of the Richmond district. It will involve red-painted transit-only lanes. The second timeline, from Stanyan to 34th Ave (and beyond?), is under current study.
Pedestrians will begin experiencing new crosswalk features like bulbouts, better lighting, safer medians and, eventually, accessible boarding islands. They should feel safer crossing the street knowing that 29 left turn lanes along Geary are to be removed. Senior centers will get nearby bus stops.
Drivers will have to contend w/ two-lane roads and bus-only lanes, but should breathe a sigh of relief to know that 15 of the left turns that remain will now be protected (i.e., they have their own green arrow). Geary Blvd will get much-needed street repaving, new landscaping, and smart traffic signals.
When built, this modernized bus route promises to shave travelling times between the neighborhoods of Union Square, Tenderloin, Lower Nob Hill, Cathedral Hill, Japantown, the Fillmore District, Western Addition, and the Richmond District, resolving the boulevard Geary all along was intended to be. The route skirts the neighborhoods of Lower Nob Hill, Lower Paific Heights, Anza Vista, Laurel Heights, Lone Mountain, Jordan Park, Presidio Heights, Presidio Terrace, and nearby Seacliff.
How.best to improve bike lane safety too w/ these new boulevard features poses yet again a head scratcher still, but is sure to come about.
One of the early Geary BRT iterations involved installing an underground Geary light-rail from Market to Cathedral Hill, where it will surface and become a street light-rail on its way to the Great Highway. Now, w/ speculation of a second BART tunnel under the Bay, there is talk of having these tracks somehow be integrated into BART. Or transition from do-able bus rapid lanes and its concommitant street improvement, to laying down tracks for rail in the future, and bypass BART. Or else keep the 38-Geary as a surface bus, and let BART dig the tunnel and run a route below.
The Geary BRT project has interesting considerations overall in that it can become a direct link to a still-in-discussion second BART tunnel under the Bay. City officials, though, have decided in the meantime not to wait but to bring rapid bus transit and its resultant improvements (and lay the groundwork) for any future discussion of a subway.
And all this only to find out that Geary, from 1912 until the mid-1950s, ran the country’s first light-rail line.
HUB 2.0 —
A multimodal transportation network nicknamed Hub 2 will be the culimination of all these recent transit plans, and is coalescing around the Caltrain Station at 4th and King Sts. Central Subway’s extension to the T-Line will pass in front of the train station, itself in the process of a feasibility study to lay down tracks connecting it to the under-construction Transbay Terminal, further up the Embarcadero.
Hub 2 has the potential to level the playing field around 4th and King, where SoMa gives way to Mission Bay, and train track and a freeway are to be found. The on- and off-ramps funneling Interstate 280 traffic are undergoing a feasibility study to see about moving them back four blocks, to 16th St. If this happens it will free up space in that corner of Mission Bay where two streets can be reclaimed such that connections can come about for the future benefit of pedestrians as well as bicyclists.
A ferry dock to be sited where 16th St ends by the Bay is in the works, it's to be a part of the new basketball arena that's being built nearby.
All these plans got a boost in 2017 when the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the city $11 million from its own Smart City plan: to develop and implement better technology to address inner-city traffic woes and to hopefully give mass transit a national face.
TWIN PEAKS TUNNEL Reconstruction of 100-year-old tunnel, slated to begin in 2017, will affect some 81,000 daily transit riders.
FUTURE SAN FRANCISCO METRO PROJECTS —
The Central Subway dig is one of several transit projects in San Francisco, ranked by tiers. This list is correct as of Jan 2017, w/ add-ons like the Twin Peaks Tunnel rebuild and the L Taraval Rapid Project now also added to the mix.
¶ TIER ONE is already in the pipeline: (1.) A surface-&-subway light-rail on Geary. (2.) Light-rail on Geneva from Balboa Park Station over to Bayshore. (3.) The North Beach / Fisherman's Wharf extension project, w/ a possible line branching off to the Marina. (4.) The four-car M-line subway project, along 19th Avenue. Total of 12.3 miles of new tracks.
¶ TIER TWO ties up loose ends w/ capacity building: (1.) West Portal and Forest Hill will become 4-car train friendly. (2.) N-Judah to be 3-car operational, and underground beginning on 9th Ave. (3.) The 22-Fillmore transit priority project will give 16th St dedicated transit lanes. Total of 4.3 miles of new tracks.
¶ TIER THREE takes place around 2050: (1.) T-line gets a spur at Evans Ave over to the Shipyard district. (2.) Fort Mason Historic Streetcar extension project. (3.) A new streetcar at 2nd and Sansome, perhaps up to Broadway and then over to Fillmore. (4.) Linking the N-Judah and T-Taraval lines. (5.) A light-rail along Fillmore for the 22-Fillmore, from the Marina to Upper Market.
Total of 13.8 miles of new tracks.
BASED ON REPORTS FROM, AMONG OTHERS,
Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez,
and Internet searches.
| CENTRAL SUBWAY APPENDIX
BY JOHN HORN
The area around Market between Van Ness Boulevard and Octavia St was called "The Hub" going on many years, and local shops had names like the Hub Pharmacy, housed in that pie-shaped corner on Market at Haight. The Hub neighborhood district was likely given the name because it was a key transportation artery through the heart of the City. The Municipal Railway had a strong presence, with major rail lines that ran from Market out Haight, Valencia and Gough Steets. By the 1950s Muni’s practise of using this spot as a transportation hub began its decline as car-friendlier street reconfigurations came into play and streetcar lines began to be replaced with the City’s first electric buses.
EPICENTER OF 1906 SF EARTHQUAKE
— The title means “the act of throwing out of a window,” and it depicts anthropomorphic furniture in the process of escaping the building by jumping out its windows and climbing down the outside walls on bent legs and contortionist trickeries. The building was torn down in 2014.
Finally, a bedside companion to Brian Eno’s arias to airports.
HOVE, U.K. —
Soon after Music for Airports was released in 1978, Brian Eno speculated in an interview about Music for Hospitals,
The Quiet Room, Montefiore Hospital
a site based on his notion that both places were high stress environments where notions of coming and going are ever tinged w/ metaphysical conditions. And now, the Montefiore Hospital has commissioned two similar pieces in a quest to aid in the treatment of patients, and as it turns out, their visitors too.
The first of these sound-&-vision commissions was unveiled in opening ceremonies in March 2013, and known as “The Quiet Room for Montefiore.” It is a space inside the hospital where ambient music plays over three panels of subtly changing colors. The hospital’s head receptionist, Ann-Marie James, mentioned that the artwork and the music really help take people’s minds off, which may or may not be a blessing if you really get to think about it.
77 Million Paintings
Matron at Montefiore Hospital Lynette Awdry adds, “The relatives can come and have time out for themselves for exactly the same reasons as the patients need it.”
The juxtapositioning of the 8 screens harken back to Eno’s 1980s video installation, where recordings of clouds outside his NYC window are played back on a TV monitor turned on its side, in portrait view. Still from
Mistaken Memories from Mediaeval Manhattan.
The second piece is near the entrance and consists of eight plasma screens, “77 Million Paintings for Montefiore,” a continuous nonrepeating display of morphing colors and shapes.
As Mr Eno explains, “A piece of software selects a random image and combines it with another random image and combines them to create ever-new combinations.”
Head receptionist James: “In the evening [77 Million Paintings] comes into its own when the lights go down.” Comments in the visitors' book include:
“Absolutely stunningly beautiful, calm, distracting in a very positive way. Wonderful concept. Congratulations on a beautiful waiting area.” “You can feel your blood pressure calming by the minute. It made me think of cells and change and the beauty of life.”
During that summer, when Jane and John drove cross country to San Francisco, a riot of sorts broke out in a drinking establishment by Ocean Beach. They happend to be driving by when news crew arrived and so ended up becoming part of local history on their first night in town. Spectators were interviewed and Jane is in the broadcast: Leather skirt and sci-fi hairdo, wearing boots that she finally lost down in the Salinas Valley where John’s band played and she had taken them off for only “ ... a new york minute I swear,” but all this happened much later. A song was penned to commemorate that first night. John: “ ... by coincidence Jane and I were driving by and saw the whole thing. She even got interviewed for the local news. I forget what her answer was but it became the punchline. Anyway, I wrote this song the next day. It’s our second song, never performed it live.” From a newspaper clipping dated July 17, 1973: “A melee broke out inside a tavern by the beach, a known hangout spot for musicians. It started around 1:30 a.m. just when last call was announced. Four squad cars converged within five minutes due to the seriousness of the situation; the police spokesperson would not elaborate further.”
DREAMTIME | BOWIETIME | YOU & ME —
you and i were stepping into an elevator after seeing a new film starring bowie. he was the only one in the elevator and sorta hiding in a corner ... he was obviously trying to escape the main crowd, but he was friendly to us.
i told him i thought it was the best film since A Clockwork Orange. he lit up at that, and the three of us got out together and went to a shadowy area where we could talk in private, although his hair, long coat and scarves all glowed dully, his age was 67 and at times he looked more like 32. suddenly he said he had to rush off for a plane (does he fly these days?) and that we'd catch up again. i remember too, other individuals sort of looking around for him, but he was an expert in stealth.
– JOHNNY STRIKE 2015
In all 19 were taken into custody, including four females; no conventional weapon was found on anyone. The account in next day's paper managed to get every name spelled wrong but had an accurate head count. Fourteen were booked and released the next morning, the others to be arraigned over unspecified charges. Within a week the reporter was quietly let go. He went on to write a novel, Fact Into Fiction, eventually moved and was glimpsed late in life living next to the Straits of Hercules. According to the bartender’s subsequent testimony, the riot appears to have been started over a misunderstanding: a special walking cane supposedly stolen from the person of W.S. Burroughs the day before (he was in town for a reading and his cane did go missing) was displayed prominently behind the bar.
| GREAT HIGHWAY FOOTNOTES  Hand-tinted postcard depicting the Great Highway down the middle w/ the Pacific Ocean on the right and Playland By the Beach on the left, circa 1950s.
The protagonist of H.G. Wells’s novel, Tongo-Bungay, has come up from the provinces to work in London, and here gives an account of his train journey into the city:
“The world was all before them, where to choose Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.”
LONDON 1908 —
“ … I got London at last with an exceptional freshness of effect, as the sudden revelation of a whole unsuspected other side of life. I came to [that human wilderness] on a dull and smoky day by the South Eastern Railway, and our train was half an hour late, stopping and going on and stopping again. I marked beyond Chilselhurst the growing multitude of villas, and so came stage by stage through multiplying houses and diminishing interspaces of market garden and dingy grass to regions of interlacing railway lines, big factories, gasometers and wide reeking swamps of dingy little houses, more of them and more and more. The number of these and their dinginess and poverty increased, and here rose a great public house and here a Board School and here a gaunt factory; and away to the east there loomed for a time a queer, incongruous forest of masts and spars. The congestion of houses intensified and piled up presently into tenements; I marvelled more and more at this boundless world of dingy people; whiffs of industrial smells, of leather, of brewing, drifted into the carriage; the sky darkened, I rumbled thunderously over bridges, van-crowded streets, peered down on and crossed the Thames with an abrupt eclat of sound. I got an effect of tall warehouses, of grey water, barge crowded, of broad banks of indescribable mud, and then I was in Cannon Street Station – a monstrous dirty cavern with trains packed across its vast floor and more porters standing along the platform than I have ever seen in my life before. I alighted with my portmanteau and struggled along, realising for the first time just how small and weak I could still upon occasion feel.”
02|19|14 – A Solitary World
| H G WELLS FOOTNOTES
1908 map of London Underground.
excerpt, Tongo-Bungay by H.G. Wells, 1908.
John Updike excerpt, The New Yorker 10|5|2015.
A Solitary World – Dir: James W. Griffiths – Published on Feb 19, 2014 – Narration adapted from the works of H.G. Wells. Excerpted from the following:
The Time Machine (1895) –
The Island of Dr Moreau (1896) –
The First Men in the Moon (1901) –
In The Days of the Comet (1906) –
The World Set Free (1914).
Director, Producer, VFX Artist & Colourist: James W. Griffiths – Director of Photography: Christopher Moon – Editor: Marianne Kuopanportti – Sound Design & Mix: Mauricio D'Orey – Composer: Lennert Busch –
Narrator: Terry Burns – PBS Digital Studios Original Shorts Series Producer: Matt Vree.
TIME TRAVEL APPENDIX
JOHN UPDIKE (1932-2009) GAVE AN ACCOUNT OF A TRAIN TRIP DOWN TO NEW YORK:
… After Providence, Connecticut –
the green defiant landscape, unrelieved except by ordered cities, smart and smug, in spirit villages, too full of life to be so called, too small to seem sincere. And then like Death it comes upon us: the plain of steaming trash, the tinge of brown that colors now the trees and grass as though exposed to rays sent from the core of heat – these are the signs we see in retrospect. But we look up amazed and wonder that the green is gone out of our window, that horizon on all sides is segmented into so many tiny lines that we mistake it for the profile of a wooded hill against the sky, or that as far as mind can go are buildings, paving, streets. The tall ones rise into the mist like gods serene and watchful, yet we fear, for we have witnessed from this train the struggle to complexity: the leaf has turned to stone.
Layouts for Sabrina Alonso's feature documentary “Grizzly Road: the Last Days of the California Grizzly”, available at the
San Francisco Public Library. The cover artwork features a black-&-white photo of Monarch, a grizzly captured by William Randolph Hearst, and in captivity for 22 years.
For Helen Branham’s Enterprising Women!
Staircases to be found in Forest Hill, showing Hawk Hill Open Space and Golden Gate Heights Park. View a larger image
The cable car was invented in San Francisco to relieve the burden of climbing hills. Its story, though, involves more than one stop, wending this way and that, passing landmarks of wealth and waste.
:: full article BIRTH OF THE CABLE CAR on Wix ::