Courtesy of Eric Fischer, king of the map geeks, your Bernalwood editor was alerted yesterday about a 1941 map detailing a freeway proposal that would have required the construction of a 2945 foot-long automobile tunnel under Bernal Hill.
Unlike other unrealized plans to tunnel through our neighborhood, this scheme would have created a tunnel running underneath the most central parts of Bernal Heights, via Andover starting at Cortland on the south side, and exiting beneath Shotwell on the north:
On the bright side, the exaggerated side-cut elevation of Bernal Hill is rather cool:
There’s a lot of obvious things for everyone to dislike about this idea. Yes, of course, cutting the neighborhood in half and clogging it with smog-belching automobile traffic would have been terrible and all… but the real issue for me is that the northern portal of the Bernal Heights Tunnel would have been located on the exact location of my Precita Avenue home:
Indeed, it appears that the very spot where I write this sentence right now would have been appropriated to make way for a four-lane concrete slab carrying traffic in and out of the northern tunnel opening.
All in the name of progress, naturally.
What this means, of course, is that in some sort of alternate science fiction timeline, the tunnel project was approved and completed, resulting in the condemnation and demolition of my home. Which means I never ended up in Bernal Heights, and Bernalwood never existed, and we would not be enjoying this lovely day together.
Of course, in an alternate-alternate science fiction timeline, it’s also possible that I used a chronological wormhole to return to 1941 as a time-traveling NIMBY to prevent the construction of the Bernal Heights Tunnel from happening in the first place. It’d be kind of like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator, only I’d be armed with vast wads of inflation-appreciated cash and an intimate understanding of bureaucratic minutiae. (As an added bonus, I’d probably also warn them about Pearl Harbor.)
Or perhaps that’s not science fiction at all. Perhaps the only reason we are enjoying this lovely day together at all is because some Future NIMBY actually did travel back in time to prevent the tunnel from ever being built!
The mind reels…
PHOTOS: via the ever-fabulous Eric Fisher