Heavy Rains Turn Cars into Submarines at 101 Hairball Onramp

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The (much welcomed) rains were intense last night — so much so that a storm drain for the Hairball interchange clogged up and flooded the 101 South onramp from eastbound Cesar Chavez.

When I drove past the site at about 8:45 am this morning, the onramp was closed and a DPW crew was vacuuming out the offending storm drain with a giant sucker-truck.

But a tweet from Neighbor Brian informed us that the flooding had been so intense before sunrise that a few cars became thoroughly submerged:

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Meanwhile, Neighbor Anita reports things looked similar around the Alemany 101/280 Spaghetti Bowl:

 

PHOTO: @brianhollinger

Drama! Bad Driving! Streetcar vs. SUV Accident in the Bernal Cut

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Neighbor Fiid from Highland Ave. saw the aftermath of a rather nasty collision between an SUV and one of MUNI’s modern Breda streetcars last night on San Jose Avenue at the entrance to the Bernal Cut. Here’s Neighbor Fiid’s report, filed in Bernalwood Action News mode:

Location is San Jose Avenue at the Shell station (north end). The SUV drove up the middle of the platform instead of either side, and ran out of concrete where it drops to just tracks and gravel. Then it either hit or got hit by the train.

Not 100% clear what the chain of events was. Officer at the scene said that this happens quite frequently (less than once per month – so maybe 6-10 times a year??).

The SUV is totalled; but the occupant(s) were unscathed. The Breda had its mating connector damaged, and there was a damaged panel, and some boxes zip-tied up underneath to enable a “get it home” strategy. (Just like the Bernal Dads!)

Could easily have been nastier, but totally avoidable.

From the Highland Bureau: signing out.

PHOTOS: Neighbor Fiid

With Assist From Local Contractors, Bernal Trees Terrorize Neighborhood Cars

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With help from a team of indifferent landscaping contractors and Sir Issac Newton’s laws of gravitation, there was an awkward interaction on Monday between a few oversize Bernal trees and a few undersize Bernal cars.

Neighbor Janna reports:

Tree cutting (contractors? from city?) on Cortland with no protection to cars below. Is that legal? Not my car, but a neighbors car.

Awww.

As a matter of policy, Bernalwood celebrates the mutually prosperous relationship that has long existed between Bernal trees and our mechanized vehicles. We would hate to see this relationship grow strained for want of a simple tarp. Thus, looking ahead, we trust that these sorts of interactions can be managed more elegantly.

PHOTOS: Neighbor Janna

 

 

This Is What It Looked Like at Fiesta on the Hill When Bernal Neighbors Discovered Their Inner Race Car Drivers

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Sunday’s Fiesta on the Hill was rather exceptionally fantabulous.

For 2014, Bernal’s traditional street fair on Cortland got a thoughtful makeover, with a strong emphasis on local character and creativity. The generic street fair vendors and beleaguered farm animals were gone, and in their place Fiesta 2014 gave our neighborhood fest a more homespun feel, with smiling goats, and historic surrealist Doggie Diner Heads, and happy parents steering happy children on mechanized ponies by remote control:

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It was a Main Street USA celebration of 21st century urbanism, and the crowds on Cortland were bustling:

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People looked like they were having a good time. There was even dancing in the streets. REPEAT: Confirmed dancing in the streets!

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Truth be told, however, your Bernalwood editor was unable to make his usual quasi-journalistic rounds at Fiesta on the Hill, because as part of this new 2014 emphasis on local flavor, I was recruited to babysit the two mutant race cars operated by the Bernal Dads Race Team.

So for most of the day, I was parked on Cortland, right in front of Andi’s Market.

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Playing chaperone for America’s Most Badass Volvo Station Wagon and a Alfa Romeo disguised as a cookie was a hindrance to my wanderings. But it turned out to be a great way to meet a lot of awesome Bernal neighbors.

In particular, it was fun to watch Bernalese of all ages as they sat in the Volvo and visualized the adrenalin-fueled excitement of driving the car in wheel-to-wheel combat on a race track.

Here are some of the dashing future racers I met:

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Thanks to everyone who made Fiesta on the Hill 2014 so much fun. Bravo, stay sexy, and can’t wait until 2015.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Tire-Spinning Sideshow Celebrates Giants Victory on Mission at Valencia

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Hooray Giants!

It’s become a bit of a ritual: Whenever the Giants have a big win — we’re talking pennant- or World Series-level stuff — crowds flow onto Mission Street in Bernal for a (generally) good-spirited festival of ad hoc anarchy and celebration.

Last night’s NLCS pennant victory was no exception, and this video shows the tire-spinning excitement that went down at the intersection of Mission and Valencia:

A few fans celebrate Giants win into the World Series by doing donuts in the intersection. This went on for about 15 minutes until the police showed up.

Something is going on in this corner of Bernal Heights. If it’s not renegade cattle stockyards and vile-smelling offal, it’s smoke and burning rubber in the late hours of the night.

Meanwhile, the inane TV news coverage of the festivities turned your Bernalwood editor into a NAMBY:

HT: MissionMIssion

Then and Now: 90 Years of Auto Biz at the Former Mission Chevrolet Dealership

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Recently, Bernalwood noticed a big For Sale/Lease sign on the facade of our locavore auto partsmonger, the stylish O’Reilly store on Mission at Precita.

More changes, afoot?  Perhaps. Eventually. Inevitably. Because change is the only constant.

Come what may, the thing to remember about this particular building is that it was originally constructed in the late 1920’s as the showroom for Mission Chevrolet, an automobile dealership established during the early years of the motorcar revolution, at a time when this corner of Bernal Heights was making a dramatic transition from equine industries to internal combustion.

Here’s the location of today’s O’Reilly store, as seen in 1927 on Mission Street looking north at Precita:

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Mission Chevrolet was still under construction in left-center of the image, so let’s zoom and enhance to take a closer look at the facade. The Chevrolet bow tie sign is clearly visible, just to the right of the Delicatessen Grill (which is now home to Virgil’s):

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It’s nifty to see the front of the old Chevy dealership. But the back side of the building was way cooler.

The front door to the Mission Chevrolet showroom was on Mission Street, but the Service entrance was on Valencia, just south of Army/Cesar Chavez. This contemporary aerial photograph from the Bernalwood Intelligence Agency makes the building’s configuration clear to see:

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Now, here’s what Mission Chevrolet’s Valencia facade looked like in the late 1920s, courtesy of a photo from the Bernal History Project:

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Again, let’s zoom and enhance:

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First. OMG! Look at Bernal Hill in the background. So naked and soooo cuuuuute! No Sutrito Tower. No trees. No party hat!

In the 1920s photo of the Valencia side, some of the architectural details are a little hard to distinguish. But they’re easy to visualize… because they’re still there today! Here’s the same spot, in 2014:

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The flagpole remains on the far right side of the building, as well as the Spanish-style roof, and the arches from the original entrances. But the coolest detail is the bas–relief roundel right above the arches. The reliefs are still there, and if you look closely, you can still see a Chevrolet from the late 1920s embedded in the facade:

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It’s a fun element, because it’s a representation of a late 1920s Chevrolet that’s baked into the building facade, rather like a bug in amber.

Picture it: Here’s what you’d get for your hard-earned Bernal dollars if you wandered down to Mission Chevrolet in 1928.

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Neighbor Tracks Coolant Trail to Find Car Used in Hit-and-Run

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Neighbor Margo tells the tale of a Bernal neighbor who followed a trail of antifreeze to find the vehicle that hit his parked car:

On Saturday we noticed police activity outside our home, and upon inquiring, learned that a guy from Peralta Avenue, on other side of the hill, heard a hit and run in the middle of the night outside his home — which damaged his car, parked in front of his house.

The perp or perps were gone before he could get outside.

In the morning, he followed a trail of leaking radiator fluid up and over the hill, and with some deductive reasoning, ended up at a bashed-in car, apparently abandoned on our block, 1500 block of Hampshire, just above the gas station.

I thought it was interesting, because he did his own footwork and found the perp’s car — unlike so many of the hit-and-runs recently.

PHOTO: Neighbor Margo