The Hypotenuse

It’s good news that female executives in California, led last year by Oracle’s Safra Catz at $53 million, now enjoy improved compensation packages on par with men. It would be even better news if the contract laborers who scrub the executive bathroom had got a raise up to $15/hr.


As children in our checkerboard grid towns and cities we learned, other things being equal, to take the hypotenuse when there was one.

When i first moved here i immediately went exploring for the best route to downtown from my apartment complex immediately above Jess Ave at the top center of the map below.  The logical route for a car was to take Graylawn down to Payran Street, turn east to Washington Street and follow Washington downtown.  Alas, Washington is one of the very busiest streets in Petaluma and has no bike lanes.  Worse yet, the sidewalks on either side are so rough that they’re not really Segway material.

Lynch Creek Trail route

The map shows a route from my apartment complex along the west bank of the river (i’m immediately to the left of the “m” in Petaluma River), but this route, built by the Corps of Engineers when they were constructing the flood wall to protect the housing south of me, is utterly unimproved and is such a rough trail that it can be taken only at a slow walk on the Segway.  However, the route on the east side of the river is the Lynch Creek Trail and is maintained for bicycles, so i can take it at full speed.  Here it is looking north toward the Payran Street Bridge.

Lynch Creek Trail between Payran and Lakeville Streets

The only problem is that when i moved here some serious construction was underway and the trail was blocked at Edith Street

Fortunately, i fairly soon discovered that if i took Payran just to Madison Street, i could follow it to Lakeville and with just a jog to the right get onto the Lynch Creek Trail south along the river (not shown on this map) and across a new bicycle bridge to downtown, which was not only scenic and shorter but also avoided the horrors of Washington Street.

And then, joy of joys, they finally finished the construction of the Lynch Creek Trail at the Lakeville Bridge, so now i can swoop under the Payran Street Bridge onto the trail and follow it all the way to downtown. Much lovelier, much safer, and even shorter.  Here’s the NWP railroad bridge at Lakeville Street with the Hunt and Behrens mill in the background

NWP railroad bridge at Lakeville Street

So yes, take the hypotenuse when you can.

Oh, and it’s not a hypotenuse, but i can take the Lynch Creek Trail north from the Payran Street Bridge and go through a bicycle/pedestrian-only underpass beneath the freeway and get to the farmers’ market and some of my new medical specialists in half the distance required by car.  Here’s the Lynch Creek Trail looking north from the Payran Street Bridge.

Lynch Creek Trail

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  1. David Ogden
    Posted 9 February 2016 at 12:59 | Permalink

    It took me three tries to pass geometry. I finally got a B at Diablo Valley College. The class was held at 1 p.m. We were taking a test, maybe a final one afternoon. The teacher came in and asked if there was anyone who preferred not to take the test that day. It was November 22, 1963.

    In later years, I’ve marveled that among the words I’ve NEVER used after taking geometry, was “hypotenuse”. And glad of it.

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