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San Francisco is very crowded, and so unfortunately are its main thoroughfares. The fastest routes in and out of the city are usually Highway 280 and 35, although their scope of penetration is limited. Highways 80 and 101 (freeway section) are the main transectors and are most subject to congestion during rush hour and also on weekends. These are the main commuter access routes, along with the Golden Gate Bridge. Hwy 1 as 19th Ave. should also be noted as a main rush hour corridor. Rush hour is defined for carpool purposes at the times between 5am-10am and 3pm-7pm although the mass exodus can more properly be said to begin as early as 1:30-2:00pm. The biggest crunches are entering the city in the morning and leaving it in the afternoon. Peak time backups typically extend: a) northbound 101: from Bay Bridge to Candlestick Park, b) southbound 101: GG Bridge toll plaza to Marin City, c) eastbound 80: for the full way from the S Van Ness on ramp and bleeding down to S Van Ness itself, d) northbound 280: unknown (estimate from Ocean/Geneva). Bay Bridge work often begins after 11pm which means that late night traffic avoidance strategies can backfire, but it's not usually enough of an issue to make late night travel a mistake. Easiest times to traverse the city are around 12 noon and 9-11pm during the week. The slowest way to traverse the city in general is via Hwy 1 as 19th Ave and Park Presidio Blvd, with especially bad congestion on 19th Ave between Junipero Serra and Vicente. Closely following 19th Ave as the slowest transect is Hwy 101 as Van Ness Ave and Lombard Street to the Doyle Expressway with a special emphasis on the slowness of Van Ness. Van Ness has the added down-side of being the most unpleasant driving due to high volume, aggressive downtown performance, poor light timing, and career panhandlers at every island crossing.

The prettiest way to transect the city is suggested in a combination route which will also access a great number of parks and the best coastal sections. This transection is an alternative to Hwy 1 to the Golden Gate Bridge and may also avoid a lot of traffic. It will generally take 10-30 minutes longer than 19th Ave. but is infinitely more interesting.
The main thoroughfares are discussed here mainly with and for their relationship to their parent routes which extend beyond the county. The focus for routes in San Francisco is on logistics, exit mapping, and access to parks. Significant streets and routes inside San Francisco (such as Lombard St) are clearly an interesting feature of the city, but not the focus of this project. The focus in San Francisco is on exit mapping and park access.

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