Fun with Highways: The Alemany Maze

We return to a favorite topic here at CatSynth with a highway interchange that we know quite well.

The Alemany Maze is the large interchange in southern San Francisco between US 101 and Interstate 280. It derives it’s name from Alemany Boulevard, which runs parallel to 280.

In the upper-left corner of the interchange is a large lot that is home to the Alemany Farmers Market, which has been operating at this location since 1947. I wish it wasn’t only on Saturdays (indeed, it would be great if it operated on a weekday evening to pick up fresh ingredients for dinner on the way home from work). Beyond the lot is 5lowershop (pronounced “flower shop”), where I performed two years ago at the headphone festival. I will be performing there again in October.

The section of the I-280 north of the interchange is the last double-decker freeway in the Bay Area.

[photo by /\/\ichael Patric|{] on flickr]

In the years since the infamous collapse of the I-880 Cypress Freeway in the 1989 earthquake, the other double-decker freeways have been torn down, leaving only this far less controversial section of I-280. You can read more in this article.

Whenever I drive to work (sometimes I take BART), I pass through this interchange on I-280. Besides it’s largeness and the annoyance of having to change lanes just to up against the freeways and the ramps.

Indeed, the houses along Boutwell St lie in between 101 and the ramp to 280, which seems like a somewhat surreal place to live. Similarly, I see these and other houses on the top of the hill on Charter Oak Avenue (north of 280) when driving south:

The houses on Charter Oak are actually on a steep hillside, so are somewhat sheltered from the freeway, though they also have a rather direct view of the double-decker section.

All these houses are part of the Bayview District of San Francisco (also known as the Bayview-Hunters Point District), which extends east from 101 to the bay. I can only imagine that these house all pre-dated the construction of I-280, which was built in the late 1960s. More information on the history of I-280 can be found at California Highways.