Escape from OB

by on June 20, 2011 · 4 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach

By Jack Hamlin/ Special to the OB Rag

I have mentioned my father in past writings, and you have probably guessed we have a good relationship, looking forward to the time we spend together. Our political views are generally the opposite side of the same coin, so we typically have very common ground from which we address issues with each other. In fact during the course of our weekly breakfast we solve most of the nation’s problems and have decided to let the rest of the world to sort out theirs.

One big difference we do have, I am a native OBeacian, and he is merely a local; I was born and raised in OB, he did not move there until the age of 15, in 1940. In fact, his mother, brother and he moved into their family home on Froude Street, December 7, 1941, leaving them to question the wisdom of their move from a very isolated and inland Pueblo, Colorado to a very exposed-to-the-Japanese Pacific Coast. Regardless of our status, we have seen and been a part of the growth and change in our little burgh by the Peaceful Ocean all our lives.

Part of our friendship is our weekly Thursday morning breakfast at either Newbreak Coffee and Café or the Old Townhouse Restaurant, before our weekly exercise walk out on Sunset Cliffs (he recommends the Sunrise on Pita at Newbreak, and the corned beef hash plate at Old Townhouse). We both live on the cusp of OB now, in the Loma Portal area, but neither restaurant is more than five minutes from our homes. That was until recently….

No doubt you have noticed the work on the streets in OB. The same work took place on my father’s street a couple of years ago and lasted about a year. The city workers were recently back to tear up some of their work and put in those new disabled sidewalk ramps (don’t get him started on that enterprise). Needless to say, the work on the streets has been, in a word, inconvenient.

Recently, however, it went from the inconvenient to comical, and left us to wonder if either the Streets Division or City Planning and Community Investment Department of the City of San Diego actually existed, and if so, had they ever heard of each other.

Leaving his home, we had to detour because the intersection by his home was being torn up, again. One group was digging a deep hole, the other was jack-hammering the sidewalks. We have learned not to ask because it is like having a conversation with a schizophrenic or a civil servant… you get no answer to your question, only a litany of what they want you to know. It is much easier on the intellectual stress factor if you just let it go.

Proceeding to Voltaire Street, we stopped at the red light in front of the Pt. Loma Community Presbyterian Church, and again wondered who thought that was a good place for a stop light…just let it go. Finally onto Voltaire, we waited and then dodged the street construction at the intersection with Catalina Blvd (personally I do not believe any work is being accomplished at that particular intersection, it is just a place to send city crews to work when there has been an oversight as to their assignment for the day so they look busy). Then onto Voltaire into the heart of OB…. almost.

As we crested the hill overlooking OB proper imagine our surprise to find the street under heavy construction with a detour sign directing us onto a side street. After winding our way through the little streets near Collier Park we finally got back onto Voltaire around Ebers St. We waited westbound at the punishment light at Sunset Cliffs Blvd. and then continued on down into the beach. I knew there was some kind of work on Abbott Street, so I opted to use Bacon Street as an alternative route. That was not going to happen because Bacon Street was completely torn up all the way to Newport Ave. Back onto Abbott, dodging some intersection work and finally we made it to breakfast… or by this time of day, I believe it is referred to as brunch.

Sated, with an hour of conversation under our belt, and a leisurely walk along the Cliffs (or as my father refers to it, the Bataan Death March), we began our drive home. Neither of our mothers raised fools. So we opted for another way out of OB, the Narragansett Avenue Passage. We congratulated ourselves as we climbed the hill out of OB breezing our way home…until we came down the other side. There we found Narragansett closed to traffic and a detour through the residential area back down to Catalina Blvd. Once back on Narragansett who could have possibly anticipated a road closure at Chatsworth and Narragansett. We did not, but it was there just the same.

After a zig here, and zag there we arrived at his home…just in time for dinner. The workers at the intersection had completed their destruction for the day, but the unfilled holes and pile of rubble were the harbingers of more work to come.

Now I could become frustrated and angry over such a trial and tribulation, but I choose not to. I think of all the truly horrible events in this world, and know the street work does not even rate a characterization of inconvenience in comparison. So my father and I count our blessings for all the truly wonderful aspects of our lives. But it does make us stop and wonder…. is anyone really in charge at City Hall?

Those are my thoughts…

Peace, Jack


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie June 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

Funny, Jack. It’s the price we pay to get rid of all those potholes. You didn’t mention Rosecrans. I was hurrying to an appointment the other day, and the quickest way to get there was on Rosecrans. Much to my surprise, there was work being done on it also. So, after being stuck at one light for at least two rounds, I opted to take a right and get on the back streets of that section of Point Loma. Went two blocks and just cruised up Canon for my appointment.

Don’t forget. Many of the work crews don’t work directly for the City as they are employed by the contractors who work for the city.


Jack June 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Ironically Frank, on my down to the beach this morning…there was a crew at Catalina Blvd. and Voltaire St, again, but this time water was flowing all over the place, and right up the street, Voltaire was closed from Venice to Froude. This time for re-surfacing, but only over the area which was torn up, not the entire street.

My point is not so much repair to the infra-structure, which is sorely needed…it is the haphazard manner in which it is planned. Throw in a couple of construction jobs and lane closures, and you can easily turn a five minute trip into a twenty minute headache….or a terribly one-sided contract with the Chargers, or a pension plan which is outrageously expensive and turns the city into a debtor, or a show-case library downtown, when the locals have to fight to keep theirs open, or an airport which is a major source of conjestion and pollution, air, and noise. Again it leads me to ask, who is in charge?


Frank Gormlie June 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm

The same people who built the public bathroom at the foot of Brighton … uh, wait a minute, it hasn’t been built yet – after 2 years.


dave rice June 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

As the world turns…the construction crews replacing the Cable Street pipeline have finally arrived to clog up my neighborhood…and I’m really thinking I need a 4×4 to traverse the 8 blocks between my apartment and my mother-in-law’s…


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