26 Nixed

24-899 from 1943

24-907 from 1943

It’s bad enough that the elimination of the 26-Valencia will wreak havoc on my personal life. But it turns out that the line I often stumble upon to get home has been running since 18-fucking-92 (shown above in its 1943 variation).

Back then, it was a trolley that ran from Steuart St. near the Ferry Building all the way down to the cemeteries in Colma. Shit, if that still ran, I could take it to Target!

The final insult is that, apparently, electric streetcars themselves were largely built in San Francisco as a way to develop the Sunnyside area – my homeland – for its real estate. And this is how I’m repaid – with forced late-night pedestrianism and wallet-thinning cab rides.

Valencia Street Lane Saga, 1925-2010

Valencia Street, San Francisco, 1925

With the Mission on the verge of getting its Valencia Street West sidewalk back between 16th and 19th Streets, reader Brian Stokle points us to this nifty Flickr set complete with drawings of how Valencia Street looked over the ages. According to brunoboris, with the latest round of modifications, the sidewalks will return to their original width. More after the jump…
Continue reading Valencia Street Lane Saga, 1925-2010

Friday What The… Double Deck Golden Gate Bridge?

Double Deck Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

First of all, I can’t tell which way most of those 1960s cars are traveling. One thing I do know: that bus and everyone on it are screwed. And wow, that sure is a lush and green post-Summer of Love San Francisco awaiting the hep cats that are fortunate to be headed the right direction.

(via Eric Fischer)
Continue reading Friday What The… Double Deck Golden Gate Bridge?

Great Video Profile of a Cable Car Operator, Carpenter, and Mechanic

The fantastic footage (with ambient-only sound) and trivia, combined with an infusion of pride for San Francisco’s past and present, make this segment, called simply, “Cable Cars,” a great way to spend 5 minutes of computer time. Along the way, you’ll meet: Ken Lunardi, operator; Norm Feyling, mechanic; and Bob Harris, carpenter.

Produced by Greg Burk for SFGTV‘s award-wining magazine series “City In Focus.”

Related book: Historic Photos of San Francisco
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1962: SAVE the BAY AREA from CHOKING to DEATH (with BART)!

BART Proposition A 1962, courtesy Prelinger Library

My favorite bit from this scan of an original flyer in support of Proposition “A”: “All statements in this leaflet are accurate and factual.” That reassuring disclaimer apparently made this passage adequately persuasive:

Who endorsed Proposition “A”? Taxpayer’s groups… labor… doctors, lawyers, merchants, housewives, educators, Republicans, Democrats – everybody who wants a prosperous Bay Area. Opposition? Scattered, local, self-interested.

Indeeeed. The proposition required a district-wide 60% “yes” to pass; it got 61.2%, with the help of folks who cynically voted for it even though they wanted, and expected, it to fail. More after the jump…
Continue reading 1962: SAVE the BAY AREA from CHOKING to DEATH (with BART)!

Statistical Fibs Will Not Make Pedestrians Safer

Pedestrian on StreetsBlog

Is it true that pedestrians die in San Francisco at a 70% higher rate than the national average?

I saw this claim come across my Twitter feed today from Walk San Francisco, the local pedestrian advocacy organization, and it immediately got my attention. It didn’t smell quite right to me. More after the jump…
Continue reading Statistical Fibs Will Not Make Pedestrians Safer

Simply Hilarious (and Infuriating): BART Imaginings, 1957

BART plans, 1957

That’s right, the original plans recommended “first stage” service past Palo Alto to the south, and across the Bay to San Rafael to the north! I wonder how many stages ago that was?

Maybe they should have drafted up some counterfeit money with which to pay for this pipe dream. (Even a tiny fraction of this fantastical scheme is itself worth much higher fares year after year, it seems.)


Film of Steam Locomotives on the Embarcadero, San Francisco, circa 1920s-30s

Came across this file randomly while browsing the Prelinger Archive, which I haven’t done in a while. The footage of longshoremen jockeying cargo on and off ships is a swift check on romanticism and a concrete reminder that, even long ago, industry on a mass scale was what drove almost all of our activity.

I logged a few of the bits that really stood out to me:

  • 3:00 – Steam locomotives navigating Market Street, and cruising along the Embarcardero.
  • 5:00 – Cool aerial footage; Ferry Building with street cars on a circular track in front and a heavy rail locomotive waiting (loading?) on the left; Golden Gate Ferries.
  • 6:50 – I believe this is a quick shot of Dolores Street.
  • 7:40 – Funky, animated relief maps of the area and trade routes, points of interest.
  • 8:55 – Aerial footage of downtown, City Hall and Golden Gate Park.
  • 10:45 – Aerial of the western side of the city; Golden Gate Park, including the bandshell area.

Related book: Historic Photos of San Francisco
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From Powell’s

Photo: Infamous Bay Bridge Crack

Photo: Infamous Bay Bridge Crack

@ekai via @case points us to this extensive engineer’s analysis of the Bay Bridge’s woes. Do I feel compelled to read the whole damn thing? Not exactly. What I did do was scan for the juicy bits and offer them up here.

That image above is the best quality photo around of the original crack they found back on Labor Day that led to the “fix” which of course FAILed and came crashing down on drivers the other day and closed the bridge.

This engineer thinks the fix was a “kludge” (awesome word), i.e., it was under designed. But he also thinks we can possibly blame the Cal Trans guy who did the welding.

The good news is he thinks the original design of the bridge is pretty darn solid, which should make you feel good if you ever get to use it again.

Fantastic 1958 Film Footage of San Francisco

San Francisco 1958 from Jeff Altman on Vimeo.

A film colorist at a local Chicago production house inherited a bunch of 16mm Kodachrome film shot in the late ’50s by his grandparents.

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Cars driving down Lombard Street. The silhouette of the guy smoking the cigar in the window is classic. I also like the moody accompanying music.

UPDATE: A commenter at Boing Boing informs that the song is “Alone in Kyoto” by Air.

Related book: Historic Photos of San Francisco
From Amazon
From Powell’s

Turn On The Pumps!


If you think the streets are bad after today’s downpour, you should see what’s going on underneath the streets.

San Francisco has an antiquated sewer system, but with a “green” twist. It’s the only community in California that operates a predominantly “combined” system, which means our wastewater and our stormwater flow through the same pipes to the ocean/Bay. More after the jump…
Continue reading Turn On The Pumps!

Suck It, BART and SFMTA


SF Appeal reports on the utter generosity of SFMTA.

Is that supposed to make up for their plans to jack up rates from $55 to $60 for MUNI-only “FastPass” and up to $70 for “BART-inclusive FastPass”?

I shall happily fire the first salvo in an all-out offensive against BART if they don’t rescind this plan. That’s right, BART. Fear me. I will destroy you.