The Walk to Work: More Than a Pedestrian Journey

A traffic signal with the walk sign indicated by a figure of a person in white light. Behind it is trees and q a large white building with black windows.

MTC staff today join thousands of other Bay Area residents to celebrate the simple-but-sometimes-sublime walk to work.

Walk to Work Day is an annual event to pay tribute to the oft-overlooked act of putting one foot in front of the other. Now in its sixth year, Walk to Work Day, organized by Walk SF and sponsored by MTC, invites everyone who lives or works in San Francisco to walk part of their commute. Walk to Work Day Hubs are set up across San Francisco to offer free coffee and treats to fortify participants as they make their way to work.

A table with a Walk to Work Day sign and a Walk SF t-shirt on it.
Julie Teglovic


Whether you travel by train, bus, bike or car, nearly every trip begins and ends with walking. MTC, as the nine-county Bay Area’s transportation planning agency, supports projects to make walking safer and more convenient. Through the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) and Safe Routes to Schools programs, and through Plan Bay Area 2040, the Bay Area’s long-range transportation, housing and land use plan, MTC directs funding to active transportation and complete streets projects designed to reduce the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In honor of Walk to Work Day, we asked some MTC staff members and friends to share a snapshot of their walks to work. Here’s what we heard:

"I’m the Bay Trail Project Manager at MTC, and I love to walk. Every day, I walk to work from my home in North Beach to my office in Rincon Hill, like a time traveler, passing through 100+ years of San Francisco history in 30 minutes. My stroll begins along the narrow streets near Telegraph Hill where many buildings date from the early part of the 20th century. I pass iconic buildings like Columbus Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid, skirt the edge of Jackson Square with its brick buildings that survived the 1906 earthquake and fire, trace the wavy lines on Hotaling Place that depict where water once met land, trek into a redwood forest, cross California Street, careful to dodge the cable cars, and make my way south of Market Street, into an emerging metropolis of gleaming office towers, sky high residences and a new transit terminal, arriving at my office awake with the buzz of the city."

-Laura, Bay Trail Project Manager

An alley and the rear views of six houses with garages.
Laura Thompson
Leaving the North Beach neighborhood--off to work!

The exterior of a bookstore with concrete-block structure and arched windows displaying books.
Laura Thompson
Passing a bookstore in Jackson Square.

The view looking down an alley (Hotaling Place) with a curved white strip of concrete overlaid on gray concrete, facing a red brick building and a smaller beige building across the street.
Laura Thompson
Following the curves of Hotaling Place.

Side view of a cable car on California Street.
Laura Thompson
Watching out for the classic San Francisco cable cars on California Street.

"As a San Francisco resident who doesn’t own a car, I get around the city (and destinations beyond) by riding transit and walking. My commute starts with 10-minute walk down Stanyan Street before hitching a ride to work on Muni’s N-Judah. Stanyan increasingly is becoming a busy thoroughfare linking two feeder routes to the Central Freeway, and as a result my commute most mornings begins with trying to make myself seen by drivers before I cross the street. Despite this challenge, I love starting my day with this walk to the Muni stop because it give me a chance to 'catch up' with the people and places that make up my neighborhood. The discovery of a fresh chalk drawing on the sidewalk, the sight of the fnnch Honeybear keeping vigil on Stanyan Street, an impromptu run-in with a friend walking her dog, the casual exchange of 'good morning' with one of the Station 12 firefighters—walking makes these social encounters and connections possible."

-Khristina, MTC Public Information

Chalk markings on a sidewalk read "Heidi Hanne" and include pictures of a face and a balloon in a childish writing/drawing style.
Khristina Wenzinger
Chalk markings on the sidewalk remind us of community.

A spray-painted picture of a gold, yellow and brown honey bear on a wall next to an archway. The wod "fnnch" is painted next to the bear at its bottom left.
Khristina Wenzinger
The fnnch Honeybear keeps vigil on Stanyan Street.

Side view of a firetruck parked on a street.
Khristina Wenzinger
Always a good idea to say "good morning" to the firefighting neighbors at Station 12!

"I love to take the ferry from my apartment in Oakland when I have time, but I usually end up on BART! I always either walk or bike to the Lake Merritt BART station or the Jack London Square ferry terminal from my apartment in the Clinton neighborhood, then from the Embarcadero BART stop or the Ferry Building on the SF side to our building at 375 Beale St. Today from the ferry, I walked along the Embarcadero past Cupid's Span and got a great view of the Bay Bridge. It was a really energizing way to start the day. You notice and appreciate so much about your surroundings when walking."

-Julie, MTC Public Information

A view of the Bay Bridge over the SF Bay from the perspective of the Ferry Building, with a ferry on the left-hand side.
Julie Teglovic
Waving goodbye to the ferry before walking to work.

The view looking down the Embarcadero in San Francisco, with the Bay Bridge, Pier 15, and Cupid's Arrow in the distance.
Julie Teglovic
Setting off along the pedestrian-friendly Embarcadero.

The Bay Bridge and Cupid's Arrow as seen from the Embarcadero.
Julie Teglovic
Stunning views of the Bay Bridge and Cupid's Arrow along the Embarcadero.

A view of Rincon Place outside 375 Beale Street in San Francisco, with bike racks, trees and walkways.
Julie Teglovic
Made it to work! Rincon Place outside 375 Beale.

"I've never learned to drive. Living in lower Nob Hill, I've been fortunate enough to be able to walk almost everywhere I need to go, ever since I moved to San Francisco. During my commute to SFMOMA, through Union Square and upper SOMA, I encounter residents and tourists, homeless people and conventioneers, people from all walks of life. Everyday I see something that strikes my eye, and when I have time, I stop and take a photograph of it. I love how the light changes along the year, so even though my commute rarely varies, the view does, and sometimes rather dramatically. Walking helps me stay in the moment, and also appreciate that I'm living in such a beautiful city."


A view from the sidewalk looking down Geary Street toward Grant Avenue in San Francisco. Buildings are lit up; the sun is just beginning to appear in the sky.
Mia Paschal
An early-morning walking commute to SFMOMA down Geary St.

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