In the News
Featured in The
San Francisco Chronicle May 11, 2001.
article describes On The Level walks: " . . .
picturesque, historical and just plain fun mile-long walks through
the city that don't involve the slightest change in elevation."
Featured in Sunset
Magazine Travel Guide, April 2001.
Titled "Flat-out fun,"
Harriott Manley's article states "San Francisco's hills make
for pretty postcards -- and leg cramps. All those ups and downs can
be tough. Now there's a place to turn if you can't handle the
steep climbs but still want to explore . . ."
in Cooking Light
magazine, Enlightened Traveler, April 2002.
The feature on
San Francisco recommended "For those who prefer to explore the
city on flat ground, On the Level San Francisco offers special maps
with paths that go around the formidable hills instead of over
The Spring 2001 issue of Emerging
Horizons named Marilyn Straka a "gem": "Marilyn
earns Emerging Horizons gem status for her unique travel guides
that "make San Francisco accessible to everyone. Best described as
a cross between a guide book and an access map, On The Level San
Francisco travel guides highlight accessible walks throughout San
Francisco. Each guide contains a detailed map of the walk, plus a
point by point narrative about sights along the way. Access
features such as curb cuts and accessible routes are highlighted. On
the Level San Francisco guides are great for everybody;
wheelchair-users, slow walkers, moms with strollers or anybody who wants
to explore San Francisco . . . Kudos to Marilyn for stressing
integration and for showing others that access information can be nicely
incorporated in a travel guide . . . "
The Spring 2001 issue of Macalester
Today, the alumni publication of Macalester College, mentions On
The Level in a piece about the author, Marilyn Straka, and her
friend and author of a popular San Francisco walking book, Adah
Bakalinksy: "Marilyn Koch Straka, who has lived in San Francisco
for 25 years, is the author of four new pamphlets designed to help
people get the most out of exploring the city by foot. An outdoors
enthusiast, Marilyn has explored the neighborhoods and parks of San
Francisco both for exercise and as her hobby. . . They are 'heartily'
recommended by another Mac alumna, Adah Packerman-Bakalinsky, author of
Stairway Walks in San Francisco . . ." (Read more from Adah
Francisco Neighborhood Newspapers . . .
from people who have done ON THE LEVEL excursions:
Steve Bowen of Tampa, Florida, read
about ON THE LEVEL in Sunset Magazine
while commuting on his weekly business trip to San Francisco.
Steve has done all the walks, but especially likes the Golden Gate
Bridge excursion, which he did with the author. The view of Fort
Point from the bridge encouraged him to visit the fort, where he could
see the "gun ports and interior gun alleys" close up.
Jane and Ben Tuma have twin girls who
are just under a year old. They all enjoy taking walks with their
stroller built for two. Jane comments, "I never want to get too far
away from the car especially if I'm out on my own. I like knowing that I
will not encounter a steep hill or stairs that will make it difficult to
return to the car without retracing my steps."
Melody Semereaux, Marin Country
resident, enjoys walking and exploring San Francisco. She says,
"San Franciscoís charm lies in its neighborhoods. Since we donít
get to visit very often, we appreciate ON THE LEVEL for leading
us to memorable walks that even the locals might not know about."
Melody and her walking partner,
Jackie Barnes, who uses a walker after
battling polio, is limited to level excursions with convenient rest
stops. Jackie says, "My favorite excursion is Stow Lake at Golden
Gate Park because it seldom seems crowded but there are always friendly
Max Bakalinsky has walked the City many
times over with his wife Adah who is the author of Stairway Walks in
San Francisco. But now he prefers excursions where he can walk on
the level and return back to the start easily as his energy level
Reenie Albert, who uses a motorized
scooter following her stroke, says: "I have lived in Pacific
Heights for over 10 years and I had no idea there was a mile long level
path right in my own neighborhood! I loved all the interesting facts
about the area. I even took my son on the walk and he liked it
Adah and Max Bakalinksy
Booklet Foreword by Adah Bakalinsky,
author of Stairway Walks in San Francisco
"I love walking the hills and
public stairways in San Francisco. We have over 350 outdoor stairways.
But periodically people ask me if I can recommend some level walks (in
this hilly city?) for relatives or friends who cannot negotiate the
hills and the long distance.
I heartily recommend Marilyn Straka's
walks to them. ON THE LEVEL is a very imaginative,
thoughtful collection of walks designed to be accessible to persons who
cannot navigate the stairs. In addition the walks are structured so that
curb cuts are always available to those who use walkers or wheelchairs.
She has tested the walks for safety and convenience (parking, public
transportation, rest rooms) by accompanying people with various
disabilities on the routes.
The walks are all visually stimulating.
There is always something new to see: a house addition, a series of
windows, a strange color, finials, grill work, as well as the birds and
wildlife. And all the while, the terrain is flat and one can feel
confident about being able to complete the walk.
Marilyn has made a great contribution
to the community and to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 by
documenting walks that open opportunities for so many people to discover
the riches of urban space.
Even I, who am addicted to urban hills,
have a new perspective on 'flat' walking. I enjoyed my walk with Marilyn
and I saw new treasures I hadn't seen before. What more can one ask of a
Adah Bakalinsky's Stairway Walks in San Francisco
your comments or questions to ON THE LEVEL.