I have tried to write this blog post a couple times in different formats, instead I will keep it short and more personal, rather than speaking for a general audience. For those unaware, I currently live in SF but work in the Peninsula. The commute is on average 60-70m one way (around 10-11 hours a week).
I've spent so long on this daily commute that I have thought deeply about time wasted rather than enjoyment gained from living in this city. I gained some passive hobbies while commuting: I picked up watching TV series and movies while on the shuttle, as well as credit card churning. These are not necessarily bad hobbies, but I would prefer to participate in more meaningful activities like volunteering or taking classes, which is difficult when living an hour away from work. I attempted to do a series of weeknight personal training lessons in the city a few months back, and it ended up being horrific due to how burnt out I was after work AND the long shuttle ride.
Attending weekday events with friends in the city is more of a biweekly occurence for me, and I have moved most events with city friends to the weekend. Plus, having a weekday social life is difficult if you plan to be at work for 10-11 hours a day (I try to optimize for work productivity as well as the least amount of time in traffic). I am given opportunities to work from home from time to time, though I find myself most productive when in the actual work environment.
I also travelled a lot more than I expected this year, meaning many of my weekends are not even spent in the city. And even with the available weekends in the city, I've explored SF very cleanly. The city has a number of hole in the walls and neighborhood gems, but it is not difficult to complete an SF bucket list (in comparison to larger cities and metropolitans like NYC).
SF is also not a very livable city, when planning for the long term. Residents here are passionate about keeping old buildings around for history which is awesome, but at the same time, they are really against building more housing for the ever increasing demand. It takes a very long time for companies to get approval to build new apartments. It is a slow system of people voting for or against all the ideas - this does not scale well.
Some people hate the techies, and want to shut down tech shuttles for good, which will mean more traffic because more people will be driving to work. It’s a problem that the outside communities cannot contribute to, unfortunately.
Homelessness is vey visible in the city, and because people turned a blind eye all these years, the streets have become pretty disgusting. You don’t need to walk through the Tenderloin to see this. Police are sparse and non-existent except for in tourist areas. SF is not a safe city. The government is only now starting to solve homelessness and crime, though the various solutions they came up with to date are controversial.
Being a long term resident and seeing how the city makes (poor) decisions shows me how non-progressive SF is. I have no doubt the city will clean itself up eventually, but I fear that it will take another 5-10 years.
So if you haven’t figured it out already, I’m planning on moving. Given my current situation of loving my job more than access to the city, I will be moving to downtown Palo Alto in a couple weeks. I am excited to still have close access to walkable distance restaurants and living 10 minutes from work. SF friends, I promise I will often visit the city on weekends. Peninsula and South Bay friends, let’s hang out.