Friday, March 9, 2012

We need a new SF mnemonic

As you know if you live in SF and as I'm about to tell you if you don't, San Francisco has a few sets of parallel streets with timed lights that basically function as substitute freeways to make it easier to get from one part of town to the other. Going East-West, there's Bush/Pine and Fell/Oak. North-South, there's Gough and Franklin. Here, I made you a map:



(Side note, I've long suspected that stretches of Turk and Golden Gate have timed lights too, and this entry on Quora seems to back that up. Also 19th Ave, but the traffic on 19th is so bad you usually can't get a good enough speed going to take advantage of the timed lights for more than one or two intersections. Anyway.)

SO. If you're like me, you're somewhat absent-minded/brain-damaged and can't remember shit and so you need a mnemonic device to help you remember which direction these streets go. I learned these mnemonics 20 years ago and I still use them constantly:

Bush to the bay; Pine to the Pacific

(i.e., Bush goes East and Pine goes West); and

Fell to the fog; Oak to Oakland

(A little more abstract, but still sensical. Fell goes West, towards the fogbound Avenues, and Oak goes East, towards Oakland. More importantly, the on-ramp for the Bay Bridge used to be directly off of Oak. Now you have to turn on Octavia and all that bullshit, but still, Oak takes you to Oakland.)

BUT HERE'S THE PROBLEM. I have never heard a good mnemonic for Franklin and Gough and as a result I still to this day can't remember which one goes north and which one goes south.

As it happens, Franklin goes north from Market Street and Hayes Valley to Bay Street in the Marina, and Gough does just the opposite. BUT LET'S THINK OF A WAY TO REMEMBER THAT.

Franklin ends roughly at Fort Mason; we could do Franklin to Fort Mason? Meh, not crazy about that. It ends in the Marina; Franklin to Family Money? Franklin to Fairly Recent College Graduate? Franklin to Future Orinda Resident? Gotten tighten it up. Has to be one word, I think.

What about Gough? Grove Street is at the top of Hayes Valley; Gough to Grove? That's embarrassingly weak. I got nothing.

14 comments:

Ruthrauff said...

I think Herb Caen proposed "Franklin to the Fort" (Mason) and "Gough to the Game" (Candlestick)

troymccluresf said...

I was gonna mention that "Franklin" has "N"s in it, to indicate north but I Ruthrauff nailed it.

TK said...

If it's good enough for Herb Caen, it's good enough for me, I guess.

GG said...

For all situations I use "Good Men Imbibe Only Yummy Icees" ("Google Map it on your iPhone").

Unknown said...
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lucydeecy said...

Not to your point, but my dad came up with "WEBLOG" to remember the order, west to east, of: WEbster, Buchanan, Laguna, Octavia, Gough. It's been helpful. Also if you say this in a singsongy voice: "Sacramento-California-Pine-Bush" that can stick in your head.

TK said...

lucy -

WEBLOG is great. Now I want to think of one to remember Van Ness to Kearny.

Polk Larkin Hyde
Leavenworth Jones Taylor
Mason Powell Stockton Grant

Hmmmmm.

sfmike said...

I see your dilemma. Franklin to The Fucking Marina strikes me as obvious, but what about Gough? Gough to Groovy Haight Street? Ack. Gough to Get Off in The Mission? Double-ack.

Tamagosan said...

There are so few things I remember in this life, so I am shocked that I have never ever needed a mnemonic for this, especially since I usually have to sing the alphabet real quick when I put shit in alpha order.

Tamagosan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scurvy said...

I usually say "Franklin to the Farts" meaning old farts who live in Pac Heights. I also say "Gough to get out" since that's the route everyone uses to get to the peninsula during rush hour.

Stuff Things and Junk said...

Franklin to Fancy, Gough to the Gutter.

Dan said...

Um, what about the fact that F comes before G and up is always listed before down (as in 'that show has its ups and downs', etc-- nobody ever says 'down and up').

I apologize that my mnemonic doesn't involve swearing at Marina people.

hez said...

i always say Up on Pine, Down on Bush. heh heh.