Discover Berkeley's network
By Susan Cerny, Special to the Daily
of pedestrian pathways
Berkeley, unlike newer cities, was designed during
the heyday of the electric streetcar, before going
places meant driving a car. Berkeley's hilly residential
subdivisions were designed during the first decade
of the 20th century when the convenience of nearby
streetcar service was an important amenity. In these
hillside locations the standard grid pattern of blocks
and streets was abandoned for winding roads that complimented
and enhanced the undulating hillsides. To make a trip
to the streetcar lines more direct, a network of pedestrian
pathways, some with stairs, was created.
The pathways remain today although many are almost
hidden from view by overhanging foliage or lack of
signage, and some remain unimproved and overgrown.
A group of Berkeley residents interested in maintaining
and improving the pathways created the Berkeley Path
Wanders Association several years ago. The association
has just published a map of Berkeley's 136 paths,
steps and walkways and it is available in stores
for $3.95. The association also sponsors walking
tours and they have a web site (www.berkeleypaths.org)
where this information is available.
A favorite walk for a late summer afternoon, especially
as the sun begins to set, starts at Rose Walk and
ends at the Rose Garden. Take the # 65 bus from downtown
out Euclid Avenue to the bus stop at Rose Walk.
Rose Walk is Berkeley's most beautiful pedestrian
pathway. Although there are other classically designed
walkways in Berkeley (Bancroft Steps and Orchard
Lane, for example) no other walk achieves the great
aesthetic success of Rose Walk. It is the only pedestrian
pathway where the buildings were designed to create
an ensemble, which integrates the walk with a planned
Rose Walk was designed by Bernard Maybeck and completed
in 1913 by donations from the neighbors. After the
1923 fire the property bordering the walk was purchased
and developed by Dr. and Mrs. Frank Gray, who hired
architect Henry Gutterson to design houses, duplexes,
and cottages on lots adjacent to, and bordering on,
Rose Walk. The complex was built between 1924 and
1936. The walk and cottages are Berkeley Landmarks.
Beginning at Euclid and Rose Walk climb the steps
and walkway connecting Euclid with Le Roy Avenue.
At Le Roy turn left and continue around the corner
to the intersections of LeRoy, Rose Street and Tamalpais.
Continue north on Tamalpais Road about 1/4 mile until
it makes a sharp turn up hill. This is an area that
did not burn in the 1923 fire and there are many
brown shingle houses. On the left are Tamalpais Steps,
indicated by a sign, which will take you steeply
downhill where you will come out at Codornices Park.
On the west side of the park is the only pedestrian
tunnel in Berkeley. After going through the tunnel
you will come out at the Berkeley Rose Garden where
views of the setting sun are spectacular.
Susan Cerny is author of Berkeley Landmarks and
writes this in conjunction with the Berkeley Architectural