As I was driving on the Magnolia Bridge with my wife the other day, I found myself wondering: What streets have I spent the most time traveling on?
I’ve lived in Seattle for the vast majority of my life, so the candidates must obviously be in this area. For the two other cities where I’ve stayed long enough to need an apartment (London and Washington, D.C.) I’d guess the answers would be Finchley Road and Independence Avenue SE — in both cases the nearest arterial to where I was staying, and on the direct route to school (London) or work (D.C.). For Seattle, I’m not sure.
I’ve lived in four neighborhoods during my time here — around 20 years where I grew up, in Washington Park; five in Hawthorne Hills (or Bryant, depending on who you ask); 11 in Roosevelt; and the last 10 in Magnolia. I wonder: would the answers be the quickest way out of my part of the neighborhood (34th Avenue E, NE 55th Street, Roosevelt Way NE, 28th Avenue W)? The closest arterial (same, except replace 34th Avenue E with E Madison Street)? Or something else? I walked to school growing up — so maybe 36th Avenue E for that period?
I have no idea how I’d go about actually calculating this. I do know that, as the son of two professors at the University of Washington, and an alumnus myself (class of 1997), I’ve spent a lot of time on Lake Washington Boulevard E, Montlake Boulevard E, and University Way NE, too — though since I moved to Magnolia I’m hardly ever on any of them, and spend a lot more time on 15th Avenue W, Elliott Avenue W, and the only three ways out of my neighborhood, because of the BNSF Railway tracks: W Emerson Street, W Dravus Street, and the Magnolia Bridge (W Garfield Street).
Anyway, I’d be interested in knowing what other folks think: how would you calculate this for yourself — and what are your most well-worn streets?
Born and raised in Seattle, Benjamin Donguk Lukoff had his interest in local history kindled at the age of six, when his father bought him settler granddaughter Sophie Frye Bass’s Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle at the gift shop of the Museum of History and Industry. He studied English, Russian, and linguistics at the University of Washington, and went on to earn his master’s in English linguistics from University College London. His book of rephotography, Seattle Then and Now, was published in 2010. An updated version came out in 2015.