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Driving my NSX on the streets of San Francisco

27 March 2000
Palos Verdes, CA
I'm considering driving my NSX up the coast to San Francisco as soon as my project is done (end of November), but am concerned about the weather and the road conditions from here to there.

Not only that, from my experience driving other cars around the city of San Fran, I would think that some streets aren't very NSX-friendly.

Any tips, warnings, suggestions?

'00 Acura NSX-T (red/black), '97 Honda Civic HX (black), '01 Lexus IS300 (black/black)
"Reality is better than the dream..."

Drive SLOWLY.. and Watch out for people crossing the street and of course use the Ebrake for hills

I drove up there and talk about Bumpy Roads.. I thought my suspension was going to bottom out.

'92 Sebring Silver NSX #181
Hi Eric. It's been a while, but I used to live in Oakland up that way.
I drove up PCH w/ Dave Kim for the Laguna Seca event a couple months ago and it's a great drive... especially once you get into the mountains toward Monterey. There is something called the 17 mile drive that Andrie could tell you about that you may want to take.

I'm sure Andrie will chime in on this since he still lives there, but this is what I remember. Great city, but watch out for:

1. There seems to be an eternal rain cloud hovering over the city and docks. No big deal unless you mind your car getting caught in the rain. Check the weather reports. Even if they say no rain, there will be a decent chance of it.
2. Parking is a $^%*! Your 3rd Street parking has nothing on this! It can get very crowded and the chance of dings and dents is there. The city is on a hill, so most of the streets are very steep. Imagine your NSX parallel parked on a steep hill, in a crowded street, between two other cars. Scary thought for me.
In other words, it may be a good idea to park in your hotel and take the tram everywhere (which is part of the experience). It's not too big a city.
If you do drive, I would find safe parking structures.

Those are the 2 biggies. It's a great city to visit and there is a lot to do. Just be ready for rain and very bad parking and driving conditions.

Maybe it's changed a lot since. Those are the things I remember to watch out for.
I drove an NSX all around San Francisco and Marin County for a few days. No problems, but the car was not lowered. Some areas were rough, but I've driven over much worse before. Don't forget to curb your wheels if you park on a hill.
Be aware of one-way streets in most parts of the city. You may never know when you accidently turn the wrong way, and face oncoming traffic :p
The street parking is something to be aware of as well. Look out for meters that have signs below the meter, as well as on posts above. Some of these also have yellows that may not be very visible. In addition, there are cameras at many intersections, and police have given tickets at questionable yellow --> red light changes.
Lots of pedestrians, and plenty of potholes.

Please don't take this as criticism about SF. Just some stuff to be aware of. I love the city, and drive my NSX up there all the time (my gf lives up there). We'd be happy to meet with you, your wife, and Andrie and the gang ;-)
Ilya's post about 17 Mile Drive/Pebble Beach is right on. It's a great drive if you can spare the time.

Take care,
Well, I have a stock NSX, so I guess bottoming out will not be a concern...though I seem to recall a lot of intersections where the hill seemed so steep that anything but an SUV would bottom out on.

S.F. is probably my favorite city and, as I mentioned earlier, I have driven around downtown several times in the past...just not in a sports car. I have family and friends who live there, and I will probably spend some time with them (ooh, I shudder at the the thought of parallel parking in front of my cousin's place...I got a parking ticket there because I totally missed the sign stating which days I couldn't park there). I don't know how much time I'll have to hook up with other NSXers on this particular visit, but would definitely like to if I bring my NSX.

I am somewhat familiar with the layout and am very paranoid of the parking situation (not just because of that damned parking ticket). I also remember it is quite expensive to park. I will definitely opt for public transit over the NSX once I'm in the city...assuming I can find a reasonable place to park.

At this point, I'm not sure if I'm staying at the Renaissance Stanford Court in downtown or the new Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay (in which case, I will obviously have to deal with parking each time I drive into San Fran).

And a large chunk of my decision will be decided if the weather doesn't cooperate on the days that I'm driving up the coast and returning back to L.A. I don't necessarily mind if my car gets we, but I really don't like driving distances in the rain, especially if I'm going fast

[This message has been edited by akira3d (edited 26 October 2001).]
Just don't drive your NSX like Nicholas Cage drove that F355 in "The Rock".


Lake Oswego, Oregon
95T Blk\Blk SportShift
I just checked out the latest videos of Jak and Daxter. It's looking great! If I can't find the import upon it's release... I'm counting on you to get me one.

I can't deal with another American release not available as an import.
I don't drive my NSX to the city any more... The roads are terrible and the parking situation is redicoulous. Unless you live there like Andrie and know the good spots to park, I wouldn't suggest it. Also, some small alley streets etc, you WILL bottom out. I made that mistake once when I went to a club straight after work in the city. I tried to park in their alley parking lot, and I could not avoid it.... it sucked big time.
Hey Kenji,
It's too bad you don't drive it in the city. I take my car up there often. You are right about knowing where to park. I tend to be up there after 6pm, when the meters are not enforced, and I rely heavily on my parking karma ;-D
In terms of the Bay Area, I don't think that SF is as tough to park as Berkeley is. From what I recall, at the time I was attending Cal, it had the worst car to parking spot ratio in the nation. Even today, it still is ridiculous to find a place nearby the campus.
Campbell doesn't have any problems though, nor does San Jose. Thank goodness we live in these locales. Hope you are doing well. Call me sometime!
The roads are terrible...some small alley streets etc, you WILL bottom out.

You guys are not exactly filling me with confidence. I really want to drive my NSX up there...perhaps one of you Bay Area NSXers could list some of the key streets I can safely take within the city (enough to get me to and from the freeway and the Renaissance).

Andrie, roughly where in San Fran do you live?

Kenji, I have relatives in San Jose that I may or may not decide to visit...I still don't exactly have my plans solidified. If time permits, perhaps I'll be able to challenge you to a round or two of Gran Turismo 3

[This message has been edited by akira3d (edited 30 October 2001).]
I can totally assure u that driving in San Francisco is totally fine even with a lowered NSX. I drive mine very often. The only problem with my NSX (since it is lowered) is getting into driveways of parking lot.

The road surface in downton area is not really smooth. But totally fine, as long as u don't speed. Driving at tthe speed limit or even a little bit over is perfectly fine.

Also I'm very sure that u won't be visiting the places that Kenji does

Parking is a bitch anywhere in San francisco. Use parking lot or parking structure.

I live in sunset district.

[This message has been edited by Andrie Hartanto (edited 30 October 2001).]
I drive my NSX to the city at least 6 times a year with very few issues. I NEVER park on the street, always use parking garages. Some of the streets are rough, but some streets everywhere are rough. By the way, my car is also lowered.
When I worked in the city I always used a garage. I'd tip the guy a few cigars and some scotch every now and then. He took real good care of my car.

BTW did you ever see "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"? Don't worry nothing like that will ever happen to you car when you leave it at one of those garages!


Lake Oswego, Oregon
95T Blk\Blk SportShift

[This message has been edited by hejo (edited 30 October 2001).]