I'm just back from a trip to Germany and England; 5 weeks of travel using only trains, city public transit, and the occasional taxi. I wish there was as comprehensive a transit system as perhaps Berlin or London in the Bay Area. The much-maligned Muni is good; BART is pretty good, ferries fairly good, but we are lacking in certain connectors that would make our transit on a par with the larger cities of Europe.
My husband and I always take the ferry into SF from our home in Vallejo unless circumstances dictate that we drive. But as Tim mentioned, streets and highways are now in gridlock. Highway 37 over to 101, our preferred route, is barely an option for us anymore; traffic is almost always at a crawl or stopped dead. It doesn't matter what time of day.
If they are going to squeeze more and more people into the region, the Powers That Be need to seriously think about how to improve public transit.
OK, a few secret driving routes from when I lived in SF:
- To go shopping at Stonestown, take Sunset and go in via the "back door."
- If you want to shop at REI and live in the Sunset or Richmond, it's a heckuva lot easier to zip up to Corte Madera rather than downtown or San Carlos. Unless it's commute time, of course.
- I used to take Golden Gate Park to go east-west. Very few stop signs and once upon a time, little traffic, except on the weekend.
- Always take Muni to go downtown. You are crazy if you don't.