Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Scenes from the FS Bus

The wetlands park near the Bay Bridge in Emeryville.
My car died last Friday. While waiting for it to be repaired, I started riding the FS bus, which stops at Shattuck and Vine, a mere four blocks from my house. It's a surprisingly fast ride that ends up at the temporary Transbay Terminal, two blocks from my office (in the 1925 George Kelham-designed Hills Brothers Coffee Building). The over-the-bridge route is interesting. I've always liked the wetlands park that borders the freeway in Emeryville. It's full of white herons. The mudflats to the north used to be an informal sculpture park, too, but that tradition has fallen away. 

The mast of the new east span of the Bay Bridge.
Another sight is the new east span of the Bay Bridge. The mast of this single-tower suspension bridge is fast rising, and details of its construction are now visible. The east span itself is taking form, although for some reason it still has a gap in it. 

The gap in the Bay Bridge's new east span.
As the photo above shows, the span has two separate lanes. (I took it from the lower deck of the existing east span.) I wondered how they will connect to the two-level tunnel through Yerba Buena Island: more elegantly, presumably, than the current S-curve that gets the existing roadway out of the way of the new construction.

San Francisco viewed from the FS bus.
My friend and neighbor Katherine Rinne noted on Facebook that part of the appeal of the FS is the skyline view as you approach the city. I agree. (She's an independent scholar and the author of The Waters of Rome, a prize-winning monograph published by Yale.)

I usually park at the North Berkeley BART Station and take the train into the city. It's easier to read on the train, but there's something to be said for the FS. I may start varying the rhythm of my commute, at least during the summer. The bus is quieter than BART, too. As the BART cars age, they've gotten really noisy, especially in the bay tunnel.

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