Baylanding and the new library

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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Now that I have completed the anvil trails challenge, I get to kick back and take it easy for one weekend (hard work on yesterday’s volunteer project notwithstanding). I had agreed to go out to the Ravenswood open space preserve to photograph and geo-tag actual and potential artifacts that might turn into memorials for various people associated with the open space district. Especially donors, of course.

Cooley landing, N viewing platform

Did it on my bike. Found a number of pretty classy places, although the one above is a long way out on an unpaved dead-end trail.

Cooley landing Bench 5

This one is fifty feet from the parking lot. Much easier to auction off!

Dumbarton overlook 2

The preserve exists in two non-contiguous chunks; the first two photos are from Cooley Landing; this one comes from the old Cargill salt pond SF2 near the Dumbarton bridge. It has been extensively reworked as a wildlife refuge.

Then I went on up the shore past Menlo Park. The salt ponds further up are still mined, but I contented myself with a look at the old one that may someday be actively reclaimed as wildlife refuge, and meanwhile is just a place where the wildlife takes refuge without benefit of taxpayer dollars, the Ravenswood slough.

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Salt crystallized along the shore. The buildings of Sun Quentin in the background (that’s a local joke).

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Beautiful in its own way. The reddish streaks would be algae.

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A tumbleweed lands along the shore and is preserved forever in a shell of salt!

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Brine flies. I can’t tell whether the little green specks are also insects, but they might be.

Home for lunch.

Mitchell park library

Then I decided to visit the newly opened Mitchell Park library. The official grand opening is planned for December, but they informally opened the doors early to shake the bugs out. Or something. This is a $28 million dollar boondoggle ($4M over budget, 2 years late — and why should a library cost $24M in the first place?). Ought to be pretty nice.

It takes an hour to walk there. That is hardly their fault! I walk past the parking lot, looking for the main entrance. Go around the side in the other parking area, to discover it’s just service access. The main entrance is off the first parking lot. Of course! How could I have expected it to be pedestrian oriented?

Some of the exterior walls are really attractive, flowing dark red, looking like slate. Tap them with a knuckle, and they reveal themselves to be anodized panels. Had they actually been slate, I suppose there would have been another $4M overrun.

In the entry courtyard, there is a slot for book return. There are also two screens where you can… what? … return your books? That’s how it looks: I can’t imagine why dropping books in the slot is somehow less than sufficient. That’s what I did, anyway!

Indoors: lots and lots of open space. No crowding here. The ground floor is dedicated to children, including teens, and to media (by observation, we see that paper is not a medium). It would appear to be dumbed down to get people to at least come in the door. This would be in Palo Alto, the alleged intellectual center of the world?

Upstairs, where we actually find books, we don’t find many. The aisles are short and wide, the shelves are maybe half full. We hope this is just because the staff hasn’t had time to move all the books from storage and from the temporary library yet.

And then there’s the other half of the building, a community centre and a cafe. I saved those for later, or maybe never.

Count me underwhelmed.

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