03
Jan
10

Our Practical Stairway, Documented

San Francisco’s known for some cool stairways and we can’t disagree.  Armed with Adah Bakalinsky’s book, we have checked out many of the great ones.  At Woodminster, Oakland also showcases cascades and stairs that rival the Bay Area’s best offerings.

Scattered throughout Oakland are more work-a-day stairways, ones that help us move around our streets.  We trot up and down a particular set of stairs frequently, never giving them much attention – so it’s time to pay homage.

The lower set primarily consists of railroad ties, which are nicely spaced so you can set a decent rhythm and pace.  These stairs are decorated by fallen leaves, pretty much all year long.

The upper set consists of red-painted risers that seem perfectly fine.  Yet when you try them out, they are a bit “short” and it’s harder to establish a natural pace there.

The stairways are well-signed, courtesy of the City of Oakland.  There are lovely garbage receptacles placed at each section of risers, too.  Our neighbors dutifully keep them clean.

Plus local homeowners do their part to keep the stairway ecosystem looking good.  We think this landscaping by one home is particularly pleasing.

Most of the time, we’re charging up or down the stairs and not looking around.  We stopped this time and noticed the trees as well as the soundtrack of a neighbor’s dog.

Maybe these pedestrian stairs around Thornhill are special after all.  Though we’re thrilled by many beautiful stone staircases and terraces installed on private properties, we do appreciate the public egresses.

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5 Responses to “Our Practical Stairway, Documented”


  1. 1 Jeffrey W. Baker
    January 3, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Where is this? Just moved to the neighborhood and haven’t seen this yet.

    • 2 montclairoak
      January 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

      Stairs are located between Merriewood and Thornhill Drives. From Thornhill, pass the elementary school and look for the painted crossway – not too far from the Valley View turn-off.

  2. 3 JP
    January 3, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Two more suggestions for those who love our public stairways:

    1) The “Walk Oakland” map (I bought mine from the Oakland Heritage Alliance, but there’s a list of other vendors here http://www.oaklandpw.com/Page129.aspx, including Great Good Place for Books in the Village) has all sorts of public pathways and stairs marked on it.

    2) Stephen Altschuler’s book “Hidden Walks in the East Bay and Marin” is a great resource for exploring. We’ve had a lot of fun picking walks from it and learning about our neighborhood and others.

  3. 4 Andy K
    January 4, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Love these hidden paths.


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Welcome to Montclair, Oakland

We live in the city yet are invaded by nature - or perhaps it's the other way around. Stop by often, and find out what's interesting to 94611 denizens.


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