Around 5.30 this afternoon, dusk now a good 90 minutes off, I walked down Duboce to Valencia to see the progress of the Central Freeway demolition. And it's amazing: where less than a week ago there was an unending slab of hulking concrete casting shadows below, now there's nothing but empty space and sunlight.
The sketchy underpass that used to prevent me from walking the final stretch of Valencia past dark is gone, gigantic jackhammers stabbing away at the pylons bit by bit. I walked to Elgin Park and watched through a gate as concrete turned to rubble, then to dust. I asked the policeman standing sentinel at the scene when the section of the freeway that crosses Market will come down; he shrugged and said, 'Not sure, but sometime within the next four days.' That means Octavia can't be far behind.
It's true that the closing and demolition of the Fell Street off ramp hasn't been without its resultant headaches. It took me 20 minutes to travel about a mile up 9th Street last Tuesday, clogged with hundreds of other westbound travelers as it was. And we haven't even begun to see how the construction of the Octavia Boulevard will wreak havoc on parking in the neighborhood. But seeing that empty expanse of sky today--nothing but blue, headed almost imperceptibly toward gold--made me slightly giddy with anticipation of the rest of the demolition. I'd gotten so grudgingly used to the darkness that I didn't entirely realize until today how excited I am for the light.