Exploring San Francisco through the lens of city blocks, Blocker is a weekly series by Charles Hodgkins. Look for it on SFist each Wednesday, around the lunching hour.
Blocker, No. 7: Montgomery St. on Telegraph Hill
You know you’re dealing with an isolated stretch of Montgomery St. when a driver can’t reach it without first leaving Montgomery St. And in an addressing quirk that must drive new workers at the North Beach post office bonkers, the northernmost apartment building on this block is actually 303 Greenwich, even though Greenwich as a cross street doesn’t exist here. After all, the only cross traffic up here on the precipitous eastern slope of Telegraph Hill is on foot.
Stunning bay views, folial grandiosity, and hill-hugging construction schemes dominate this block of Montgomery, bookended by the famed Filbert and Greenwich steps. The street itself is a bi-level roadway divided by a tall center wall lined with numerous pine trees, not dissimilar to Lawton St. in Golden Gate Heights, or Arlington Ave. in the Berkeley Hills. It’s designed for neither speed nor mass amounts of auto traffic. Aesthetically, however, it’s nearly unbeatable.