for my second walk, i went from emeryville to berkeley and richmond. this time, my walking companero was adrian, a long-time acquaintance and new-ish friend. he just finished his m.a. in geography at u.n.c. and has come back to the bay area. besides knowing things about geography, he is a lot of fun and likes to take pictures of gross things (more later.)
we also saw condos and the ex'pression college of digital arts. (how very 21st century.)
emeryville is a funny li'l place -- a bite taken out of oakland that didn't attract much attention 'til around dot-com when pixar built their studios there, and folks realized it was the first stop over the bay bridge from sf and office space was cheaper. now it's full of big-box stores and condos and a little retail area called "bay street." but it must have been something before, too. gotta look into that.
unlike the oakland walk, where we were prohibited from walking right on the tracks in many places, this walk was almost entirely *on* the tracks. we saw a lot of trains this way, but not much else. this poses a methodological question: what am i trying to find out about the tracks and am i better off finding it on or away from them? this is a big one; definitely more on this later.
you know, railroad stuff.
two miles in, we arrived at the berkeley train station, or shall i say train stop. the station was turned into a restaurant a number of years ago called xanadu, and now it just sits empty. i don't know what they are planning on doing with it, but i have heard rumors that another restaurant bought it up. i, myself, have fantasies of turning it into a community arts center with a theater and a gallery. it's a really beautiful building:
i wonder why it can't be made back into a train station, though. seems like amtrak has these sorts of problems a lot.
i know this station really well because i picked up the train here last year twice a week. (this year i will be leaving from emeryville.) it is a platform that sits under the freeway, and they've tried to fancy it up with public art and poetry. homeless people live by the mural.
there are lots of bombed out old warehouses in this area, but one was torn down last year and the lot is slated for redevelopment. (in fact, i used to ride the train with a woman who lived in that particular one when it was an artist squat.)
long story made short, this walk was mostly on the tracks, so while adrian and i both got to take lots of pictures of rusty things (which we find delightful), there's not much of an obvious story here. check out the photo album for more cool pictures.
i guess this is part of the learning process i discussed in the last post. last time, we were blocked from the tracks, which frustrated me, but we saw a lot of the *effects* of the train on the landscape. this time, we stayed on the tracks the whole time, and i mostly got a sore throat from the dust and the diesel fumes.
in the end, we arrived in richmond where they are building a new transit hub of sorts -- a combo amtrak/bart station that is more attractive than the old one from the 1970s.
there is also new housing right by the station. this is often called "transit oriented development."
i'm not sure who lives here, or what income level. richmond is a pretty poor town that used to have a big ship-building industry, and still has oil refineries. i don't know much more about it, but i do know that a lot of condos and things are going in -- it's some of the last cheap land in the bay area.
i'm going away for three weeks, but when i get back i'll be doing the next leg: richmond to martinez. i'm really excited to walk by the bay for a long stretch.
also, i've gotten a bunch of good feedback from community arts organizations, and i'll start working with them in october.
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