The Crazy Streets of Golden Gate Heights

The western side of San Francisco has a reputation for streets that are laid out in a neat and orderly grid. The north/south streets are pretty much all numerically ordered, getting larger as you approach the Pacific Ocean. Hence the nickname of “The Avenues.” Golden Gate Heights, though, is the exception to this orderly and logical layout. Not only is it the exception, it’s the curviest, craziest, most dead-end and wrong turn filled exception that you could possibly think of.

Golden Gate Heights Street Sign

Above is a picture of a street sign in Golden Gate Heights that I took this past Tuesday on broker’s tour.

In all fairness to Golden Gate Heights, Cascade isn’t a street, it’s a staircase. But the sign does a great job of demonstrating how wacky and curvy the streets are in the neighborhood. Streets that normally run parallel to each other somehow magically find a way to intersect in the neighborhood. It’s disorienting to say the least.

While the paranoid types might think that city planners created the nefarious street layout to frustrate their attempts at on-time arrival or confuse the pizza delivery person, the reality is that the neighborhood was primarily built out in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and the streets follow the contours of the steep and large neighborhood hills. In exchange for streets that feel laid out by a drunken city planner you get phenomenal views.

While the neighborhood has a reputation for fog and wind, on a clear San Francisco day the neighborhood views are drop-dead gorgeous, with breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge, depending on your location.

But, as you can see from the skewed intersection of Pacheco, Funston, and Cascade getting anywhere fast in Golden Gate Heights is unlikely unless you are very, very familiar with the neighborhood. Or have a GPS in your car. Or both.

Leave a Reply