Walking Our Stairways, This Sunday

Oakland Urban Paths is coming to our Village this Sunday morning, to introduce and share our hidden charms with all Oaklanders.  Even if you already use your local stairs, here’s a chance to learn more about them.

Paul Rosenbloom, a tireless advocate of Oakland’s bipeds, has organized this tour up Oakland’s steepest and woodsiest stairs.  He told us the stair hike features the multiple cases from Thornhill through Lower and Upper Merriewood, as well as the risers from Mountain to Cabot. Shepherd Canyon also makes a brief appearance, as an optional trail loop.

We know you can get exercise from ascending these stairways, so wear study shoes.  The walk meets up at Montclair Library (map), and runs from 10:00 am through high noon.  It’s a great way to jump-start your Sunday.

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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.