Driving S.F., San Francisco
First of all, I would not recommend driving in San Francisco, especially around Chinatown, Union Square, Pier 39 and Embarcadero because parking is scarce and expensive. You can explore the city by using what we call BMW (Bart, Muni, and Walking). But if you insist on driving, please be wary of the one way streets, especially around the financial district. Buying a map that indicates one way streets is very helpful. Trust me, I've seen many tourists, and some locals, go against traffic with fear, bewilderment and embarassment on their faces . Be watchful of black and white street signs bearing "One Way" with the corresponding arrow. If you find yourself against traffic, well you pretty much declared yourself a tourist or an absent minded local, :))>. If everybody is honking at you, it's not because you're a hottie (well, maybe you are), you're going the wrong way! Don't panic, just turn on the next street. If you can't make it to the next street, ease your car to the curbside and wait until traffic passes, then make a quick U-turn. If you can't make a U-turn, find a driveway and do a three-point turn. If the police sees you, you're pretty much under their mercy, you will either get a warning, or a ticket. Oh, by the way, watch out for the hills too, they're very deceptive. You don't know how steep they really are until you're actually on one. Again, don't panic, and hope that the car you're driving has enough power and the car rental company checked their brakes periodically, :)). If you happened to be driving a car up a steep hill with a manual transmission, well, start praying that no one is right behind you. A tip for starting on an uphill (from my old UPS handbook): USE YOUR HANDBRAKE to stop you from going backwards, once you feel the car is going forward, release the handbreak and off you go. ENJOY!
I hired a car, and did two weeks of driving the West Coast.
now as a Londoner i must say the entire west coast was out of this world. having come from a desrt in Death Valley, i went to the smog filled city of LA. then finished in SF. now SF can only be appreciated by car.
finding your way around. hitting Lombard streets walls. going up and down outragous hills. it cannot be beaten. it was fun. and the car aint yours anyway
just get the accidental damage waiver and go play!!!!
Driving in SF is a challenge. You must pay attention! SF has many large hills, narrow one way streets, and tons of pedestrians . If you must drive, plan your route in advance. Parking is limited and/or very expensive.
San Francisco is a complex network of narrow one way streets. Driving in the heavy traffic areas of San Francisco is tough, even for a local, which is why I rarely use anything but public transportation to get into the City.
Not only do you have to watch out for pedestrians who cross against the light, cars pulling out of blind garages, other drivers talking on their cell phones, and double parked cars, you have to concentrate on which way the streets go, are they one way or two?
It's enough to drive you to drink (but don't drink and drive)...
Parking can also be a difficulty in downtown and the FIsherman's Wharf and Pier 39 areas. But there are plenty of parking lots or garages that you can park your car in, but the prices are pretty high. But if you search hard enough, you can find one that charges $15 for a day.
Driving can be difficult in San Francisco. Be sure to have a map handy or know your route before you start driving. If you're coming from the south (San Jose, Santa Cruz), I suggest using I-280 north, and then taking California Highway 1 north and finally Highway 101 south (don't cross the Golden Gate Bridge by following 101 north) into downtown. It's probably a little less confusing. Also, if you are driving a car with manual transmission, be prepared to deal with extremely hilly streets.
its better to be without a car in SF but if u have one u must find a motel with a free parking....and leave the car there ...u wont need it while visiting the city...traffic is bad and parking is expensive
If you like traffic jams, cross the Golden Gate Bridge from north to south in the morning rush hour or in the afternoon northbound to Sausalito. It might take a long time to cross the bridge. On the other hand it is always fascinating to be on that wonderful construction. It's amazing. But instead of standing in the traffic jam it's much more fun to stop on the parking lot at the north end of the bridge and to walk across it.
Oh, how much I wanted to do so, but .....
However tempted you might get, don't try to make one of these classic persues by car through San Francisco. The police will be faster and the (car)rental company will no be so happy. However, it might be the way to stay in San Francisco (after a heavy accident). (-:
If you rent a car, make sure you curb your wheels or risk a ticket. By curbing, I mean to point your tires toward the curb if parking downhill (so if the brake fails, the curb will stop the car). Likewise, turn the wheels away from the curb if you park uphill. The exception is to do the opposite if you park uphill and there is no curb, but in San Francisco, all streets have curbs. /// Also, if the parking signs say '2 hours' do not keep putting coins into the meter. The police secretly mark your car (on the tires) and give you a ticket after 2 hours (or whatever the sign says) even if the meter still has time left.
We have a MAJOR PROBLEM, with motorist that must be colour blind.
They can't seem to tell the difference between red & green...and yellow DEFINATELY
means speed up. This is neither myth nor fiction, it's a VERY SCARY REALITY !
I can't tell whether it's the increased population, the decrerase level of patience amoungst
motorist, cell phones or what...What I do know, is that over the past decade the situation has gotten worse. So to all of the visitors that plan to drive while here, please be mindful...cyclist, roller bladers, joggers, walker, etc, HAVE YOUR HEAD ON A SWIVEL,
and enjoy our beautiful city...
If at all possible... Try not to drive in San Francisco. It's confusing, and parking is VERY expensive! But if you must drive... Try not to drive a stick shift! The hills will be a real challenge if you do. You will be a lot less frustrated if you drive an automatic. ;o)
The parking could be very expensive, especially in the downtown core. When going to San Francisco, try leaving your car. If you need to drive, park at a parking lot that is not in downtown (i.e. Haight-Ashbury) and take the bus into downtown.
The only thing I did not like was driving in downtown San Francisco, especially this one hill
which at the stop sign I was lying down in my car as if I was in bed.
Other than that it was an excellent trip being a tourist.
There is no more risk to the person than in any city today. But if you are hiring a motor vehicle always allow plenty of time for your journeys. The free-ways around the city, especially near the bridges are frequently heavily congested making progress both frustrating and slow.