Monday, May 21, 2007

Getting Acquainted With Tracy

We have now completely settled in and ready to call ourselves residents of Tracy. But unfortunately beyond our immediate surroundings and the few places we have visited, such as the church, the malls, the grandkids’ schools, and our daughter’s house along those gated developments hemmed in between Tracy Boulevard and Corral Hollow Road, we have not really gotten acquainted with the city. In things both tangible and intangible.

Our life experiences have shown us different ways to get acquainted both with people and with things. Typically one could approach it with serious purpose and design, or simply allow one’s many unplanned and spontaneous interaction with it to develop into some form of bond of acquaintance and familiarity over time.

I did begin to approach this “task” with some basic purpose and design at the very beginning. First, securing a street map of the city, allocating time to peruse its main community paper, Tracy Press, and of course, driving and asking around whenever possible. But then again, this process could easily get stunted or onerous as to be too mechanical and maybe, devoid of emotional and purposeful content.

Why not allow the local sights, color, history, and its people to simply be slowly soaked in as one is being exposed to them and to allow these to seek their own levels of ease and comfort, before unerringly and automatically being translated into some kind of amiable acquaintance with and understanding of the entire city?

This process can be so effortless, so natural and uncontrived. And so smooth as to make one totally unaware of and unburdened by the many little changes that will take over one’s life.

Thus, the decision was made and today, a Sunday, was to be the first sortie. Much like beginning to know a person, any person, one can begin to notice and make judgments of the physical characteristics of the place. Its terrain, its geographic orientation, its infrastructures, etc.

Man is funny in a way. Any analysis he makes about most things is usually couched around comparing that thing with other similar things he has known or experienced. Any judgment made is typically based on an analogy. Thus, we say this is good because compared to this it is… Or, this is a good thing to do because it is authoritatively written that given these, this is the right and properly thing to do. Etc.

Having lived in a San Mateo County city, Daly City, for many years, the unveiling comparison will hinge on that experience.

When one catches sight of Tracy coming from that milieu, one is immediately taken aback by the flatness of Tracy’s terrain. One taking a 360 degree look around can only notice the Altamont to the west as a clear and unmistakable gradation of its flatness. Everywhere else is flat terrain as far as the eye can see. Minus the many undulating hills that pock the areas to the west and into the ocean. Clearly without much serious research, Tracy was or is a farming town, complete with grid-iron cuts of land all around.

Given that it now counts about 80,000 as among its residents, many of these new houses must have sprung from old farmlands converted into tract subdivisions.

Today, we took a leisurely drive from home to church and back to the house, on a calm sunny morning before eight. This took us through Byron Road going east, which road is cut close to the railroad tracks. Then through Lowell Street passing through the now storied high school (Remember the reported fatal accident of car-riding students some weeks ago?) before turning right on Parker St. Stopped at its intersection with Eaton St. for church service.

After church, continued on through Parker St to its intersection with 11th St, which dissects through the city and could arguably now be considered its main street. Given that it is also I-205’s business route. And its multi-laned wideness defined by an ample median island gives it the feel and look of a real highway. Taking a westerly direction we ended at its intersection with Lammers Road, the last intersection prior to the on-ramp that takes one to I-205 going west.

We made our right turn and back to the bosom of our gated community.

The following pictures trace graphically the same route described above. And one cannot help but notice how wide the streets were. No such luxury in many neighborhoods of “old” Daly City where we came from. How few the cars parked curbside overnight. How empty the streets of people were, though granting that it was a Sunday morning. Truly for us, these were novel experiences.

It was overall, a nice leisurely and mute ride for us. An enlightening experience.

(View pictures from bottom up) Click on individual pictures for larger and clearer view.

The experience continues. . . .


  1. Are you ready to start petitioning for the railroad crossing between Byron road and Costco yet? It must be a serious pain for those living in your neighbourhood to make the detour to the nearest official crossing every time.

  2. I noticed that too and wondered why there is no shorter ingress to Costco and the rest from Byron Road.

    Heard that plans are already afoot for this, since the current intersection is not only some distance away, but is also built quite awkwardly.

    Thus, having to go through any petition process may not be necessary.

  3. Better make sure that these plans are not a pure fantasy like Trader Joe's behind Chilli's, then.

  4. I suppose that I ought to be wary when government promises anything.

    But we'll see.

  5. Tracy looks very nice, clean and spacious. I've stayed in Eunice, Louisiana for a few weeks and I know what you mean about the flatness of the terrain. I found it quite overwhelming.

  6. Hi, Toe:

    I've always lived in areas where hills and valleys characterized the landscape. First, in Mindanao where I was raised and then in San Francisco, with its famed steep hills.

    Thus, moving to Tracy has been quite a new experience.

    Among the novel surprises are the sudden gusts of wind that come and go without much warning and notice.


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