26 November 2007

Mall walking the walkabout way

Even if US retailers aren't seeing the sort of sales they'd like, the allure of the malls make them places for the non-shopper to avoid once Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror.

Since the Fashion Valley Mall is off the Friars Road exit on the 163 and that's just before my usual exits on the commute home. avoiding mall traffic is not something I can easily avoid. Even before the buildup of the South Bay, I did not have a warm fuzzy feeling about the mall during the holiday season.

In recent years, if I go to a mall during the holiday season it is more often than not on foot. This has an extra hint of fun when mall shoppers are on the prowl for parking spots. There I am calm and unhurried looking to the parking spot prowler like I'm the answer to their parking prayer. Okay, it's evil but I like it.
With that in mind, on Sunday I took my beret in progress (the blue one) on walkabout down to Fashion Valley and The Container store.

Beginning in Hillcrest on First Avenue, when you cross Washington, First becomes a one way street. Go one block to Lewis. Lewis is a one way street. Turn right and go one block to Lewis & Bachman Place. Left on Bachman Place and you're on your way down the hill.

The route is something of an insider info for locals and at one point the road that takes you from Hillcrest by the hospitals down to Hotel Circle South was gated and privately owned by UCSD.

The street, Bachman Place, was a back way for ambulances to quickly get from the 8 up to the hospitals. The gates are long gone and the long stretch of hill has changed from a no parking zone to pay parking slots.

The private bit of Bachman was just below the intersection of Bachman & Arbor. Here's the view from Arbor & Bachman looking down the hill. There's a UCSD parking lot to the right and the UCSD parking garage to the left down the hill.

Looking back the other way, you can see that we're already on a bit of a hill. I often wish when I'm on these rambles that I could easily measure the grade of the hill I'm on. Gmaps pedometer estimates that the hill is just under 6/10ths of a mile from Arbor to Hotel Circle South.

There's some street crossing and stop signs along the way as there are entrances and exits from the parking structure. Once you're past the stop sign that marks the garage exit, check the mirror before stepping off the curb, it's all down hill and a bit winding. There's no bike lane but it is a popular hill for cyclists.

There are now 60 pay parking slots on the hill. One sign indicates that these slots are UCSD parking lot # P963 with cars needing a UCSD parking permit.

I'm not sure how strictly that's enforced but the machine that takes payment is very clear that it doesn't give change and there are a number of these signs along the way.

Sixty slots and bad short term memory would not be a good story here and think how much it would suck to be in slots 40 and above if the pay station machine spit out a permit that you'd need to display on your dashboard.

At the bottom of the hill Bachman ends at Hotel Circle South between the Holiday Inn and the Days Hotel.

Turn Right on Hotel Circle and follow it around and under the 8 freeway. At the other end of the underpass there's a light where Hotel Circle South becomes Hotel Circle North to the left and intersects with Camino de la Reina to the right.

Cross at the light, turn right and walk on the grass for a bit until the sidewalk starts again by the Union Tribune.

The next light turn left into the back entrance of Fashion Valley. If, like me, you're a pedestrian, this is where it gets really dangerous as distracted drivers abound.

If Mission Valley is your goal, you can continue straight on Camino de la Reina although disappearing sidewalks make the journey way a dicey proposition as you cross under the 163 just beyond the turn into Fashion Valley.

If you've ever been to a TKGA convention in San Diego, you may be familiar with the Town & Country Resort and Convention Center . The intersection of the Hotel Circles and Camino de la Reina is right where the Town & Country's Kelly's Steakhouse is located.

If you've visited San Diego and your hotel was on either side of Hotel Circle this route will get you from the restaurants and other amenities of Hillcrest & downtown San Diego back down to your hotel/motel.

Because First above Washington and Lewis are both one way streets, you can't just reverse the directions and get up the hill to Hillcrest & downtown. If coming the other way it's either a left onto Lewis from Bachman and then a right merge/yield onto 4th to bring you out to 4th & Washington or a right onto Montecito Way and a left onto Front Street to bring you out at Front & Washington.

From my place to The Container Store and back is just about 5.6 miles round trip. I took a minor detour to clock about 7 and change before ending the day.


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