The San Francisco Loma Prieta earthquake was 20 years ago today. (I believe I’m the only person who spent the entire quake inside Stanford’s Memorial Church, my closest brush with death to date. I wrote about that experience, in a more self-consciously literary voice, here.)
What would the Bay Area look like today if the quake hadn’t occurred? I’m almost sure the Embarcadero and Central Freeways would still be towering over the city, and the cars that they delivered into Chinatown and Hayes Valley would still be there, circling, looking for parking.
Oakland wouldn’t have Mandela Boulevard, formerly Cypress Street, but nor would there be a new freeway looming over West Oakland BART station. We might not have seen the permanent modal shift to BART and AC Transit buses triggered by the temporary closure of the Bay Bridge, or at least not so suddenly.
What else do you think would be different? What would be the same?
Photo of Memorial Church by Michael Connor from http://www.connorphotography.net