Of course I read Leah Garchik. I like hearing how the other half lives, and I like Leah even more.

So, what’s this?:

Theresa Crivello, who has moved from the Sunset District to Larkspur, e-mailed me a scolding for having described the A-1 Smoke Shop as being at Irving and 20th Avenue. “It’s always ’20th and Irving’ or ’41st and Lawton.’ The numbered street is always mentioned first. There are still S.F. natives reading The Chronicle, and we notice things like that.”

OK, news to me. I, myself, live at a name and number intersection, and I use the two orderings interchangeably. Have I been committing a crime similar to the dreaded object before freeway number foul? Clearly, a poll of the SF natives I could find online was in order.

So I asked everyone with a green dot “Is this common knowledge?”

Babe: Not (to) me. Anyone who moves to Larkspur has as stick up their ass anyway.

Eater SF‘s Paolo Lucchesi: I have never heard that. I don’t know that I’ve noticed a standard way in the first place, though.

Rain: I have never, ever consciously made an effort one way or the other. I DO know that when I was living at 22nd and Folsom (hey, I just did it there!) people often thought we were at 22nd and FULTON. So it seems like one should at least mention the “street” or “avenue” somewhere in there. But who gives a crap if you say it first or second…

Updated 3:18 — now with more native response!

Beth: Yes, but I don’t think it’s work hassling Leah Garchik over. Ooooh, you know Sunset lingo. Big whoop. There’s a whole contingent of San Franciscans who define themselves as townies. Yeah, you’re supposed to say 41st and Lawton, but I wouldn’t brag about it…

Violet: By habit it’s always been number then street, but I have to agree with
(Babe) and Beth. BFD.

So, that exhausted the natives within my immediate TV with typewriter grasp. So let’s open it up to you all, native or non-native — what do you think?

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at

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  • Muni Diaries

    I wonder how much of this stems from SF’s problem of self-consciously living in NYC’s shadow. There, you tend to list the street number before the avenue number. Different beast, I realize.

    I live on a number, so tend to mention it first with its named cross-street, for what it’s worth.

  • brittney

    Tell it to Muni. They announce “Mission and 30th” on the 14 buses.

  • Rory

    It’s the street its on then the cross street, no matter if it’s numbered or not.

  • cv

    Ah, but Muni Metro stations are listed as “4th & King”, “2nd & King”, etc.

    BART lists “16th St. Mission” and “24th St. Mission.” And Caltrain stops at “22nd Street.” Perhaps this is a rail versus auto thing?

    What do they say in L.A.? We should do the opposite, right?

  • Jim

    I’ll agree that “20th and Irving” is generally the way people say it, but “Irving and 20th” isn’t wrong or anything, so it’s not worth correcting someone.

    Radio dispatchers in S.F. would tend to say California Battery (“Cal Batt”) instead of Battery California, I bet.

    Any rules you can make up would have to deal with exceptions anyway, like would it be “I’ll meet you at third and fourth” or “fourth and third”?,+San+Francisco,+San+Francisco,+California&sll=37.773547,-122.389734&sspn=0.006767,0.011855&ie=UTF8&ll=37.773149,-122.389787&spn=0.006767,0.011855&z=17&iwloc=A

    Same deal with the intersection of Mission and Valencia. Anything goes.

  • generic

    I can’t believe this is an actual conversation.

  • Jamison Wieser

    I would not look to Muni for consistency on just about anything. As Rory said, they usually name street the stop is on and then the cross street, but that’s about all they are consistent on. If you look on Next Muni you will see the K/T stops at “4th Street & King Street” (fully spelled out) but the next stop is “2nd St & King St” (abbreviated) and ends somewhere called “Metro Terminal” instead of “Balboa Park Station”.

  • rachael

    I have an open relationship with name/number streets and number/name streets.