Muniverse

Dispatches from San Francisco's beloved and beleaguered Municipal Railway.

Recently, photos of Hayes Valley (in central San Francisco) before the freeway demolition have been doing the rounds. The Central Freeway used to pass through the area, flying over Octavia Street.

Now, Hayes Valley is desirable, full of fancy ice cream and brunch places, and generally a nice place to hang out, but as recently as fifteen years ago it was, frankly, a bit of a dump.

Paul Mison has been thinking about freeways.

Luckily, after the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished in the wake of suffering damage during the Lomo Prieta earthquake, SF residents had come to realise that these roads didn’t have to be there, and Octavia was the next to go.
The thing I realised last week is that this was only possible because the original freeway revolt, in the 1950s, stopped the entire plan from happening. If the Embarcadero Freeway had connected, as the map above shows, to Broadway and then the Golden Gate Bridge, the pressure to rebuild it would have been much greater.

Similarly, the Central Freeway spur was intended to connect to both the Panhandle Freeway and an expressway carrying 101 north along Van Ness. If those had been in place, pushing the freeway’s exit to street level to Market would have been impossible.

Even after the collapse of the Cypress structure and pieces of the Bay Bridge falling into the Bay there was pressure – and a couple votes – on rebuilding these dead end freeway off-ramps.

The thing is, SF still has loose ends and spurs. The remainder of the Central Freeway runs above 13th from I-80 to Market Street at Octavia, while I-280 ends abruptly at 4th and King, by the Caltrain station. The fact that the latter needs grade separation has led to feasibility studies in removing its flyovers, too.

In other words, it’s mainly thanks to the original freeway opponents that the incomplete system can now be unravelled bit by bit. Thanks, 1950s.
Map source: Eric Fischer’s fantastic Flickr collection of San Francisco traffic plans. See also.

Recently, photos of Hayes Valley (in central San Francisco) before the freeway demolition have been doing the rounds. The Central Freeway used to pass through the area, flying over Octavia Street.

Now, Hayes Valley is desirable, full of fancy ice cream and brunch places, and generally a nice place to hang out, but as recently as fifteen years ago it was, frankly, a bit of a dump.

Paul Mison has been thinking about freeways.

Luckily, after the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished in the wake of suffering damage during the Lomo Prieta earthquake, SF residents had come to realise that these roads didn’t have to be there, and Octavia was the next to go.

The thing I realised last week is that this was only possible because the original freeway revolt, in the 1950s, stopped the entire plan from happening. If the Embarcadero Freeway had connected, as the map above shows, to Broadway and then the Golden Gate Bridge, the pressure to rebuild it would have been much greater.

Similarly, the Central Freeway spur was intended to connect to both the Panhandle Freeway and an expressway carrying 101 north along Van Ness. If those had been in place, pushing the freeway’s exit to street level to Market would have been impossible.

Even after the collapse of the Cypress structure and pieces of the Bay Bridge falling into the Bay there was pressure – and a couple votes – on rebuilding these dead end freeway off-ramps.

The thing is, SF still has loose ends and spurs. The remainder of the Central Freeway runs above 13th from I-80 to Market Street at Octavia, while I-280 ends abruptly at 4th and King, by the Caltrain station. The fact that the latter needs grade separation has led to feasibility studies in removing its flyovers, too.

In other words, it’s mainly thanks to the original freeway opponents that the incomplete system can now be unravelled bit by bit. Thanks, 1950s.

Map source: Eric Fischer’s fantastic Flickr collection of San Francisco traffic plans. See also.

Source: Flickr / walkingsf

 •  7 notes

sfgate.com

Being a tourist in SF is tougher than it looks, be kind →

Let’s fix that right now. “Visitor” feels a bit more welcoming, and more accurately includes the large number of business travelers here for meetings and conferences so we steer away from the word “tourist” and any negative baggage.

Remember not everyone knows the difference between Muni, BART, Cable Cars, Clipper, not even locals all get inbound and outbound, so try to lend a hand when you can.

 •  2 notes

Meanwhile, On Muni (at Embarcadero Station)

Woof!

Meanwhile, On Muni (at Embarcadero Station)

Woof!

Source: davitydave

 •  5 notes

Waiting for a bus in downtown San Francisco.

Waiting for a bus in downtown San Francisco.

Source: lebasiphotography

 •  19 notes

ktvu.com

BART extension to South Bay receives final funding allocation →

A lack of full funding up front is often cited by transit opponents as a reason not to build something, but that’s not how it works.

Transit as well as transportation projects like roads and highways are paid for pieces as they go along. Even though the Berryessa BART extension has been under construction for two years, and planned many years earlier, the danger as San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed points out is that it can be pulled along the way.

hoodline.com

Public Hearing Friday For Van Ness Rapid Transit Project →

A few comments on this post suggest light-rail instead of bus service, that the two are even comparably priced. Nobody should be under the impression busses and light-rail are comparably priced, and one of the immediate complications is what happens at Market Street? The 47 and 49 Van Ness lines split ways and ridership slits about evenly in both directions with them.

Adding a transfer from a train to a bus at Market Street, which is already a congested transfer point is an inconvenience and a disservice to riders when the benefits of light-rail can be applied to busses in the dedicated lanes in only a few years.

Speeding up the Van Ness busses in a short time frame is one of the best ways to build up the ridership and demand for conversion to light-rail.

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star-telegram.com

Dallas begins rail service to DFW Airport →

Remarkably the station was cut from the original Orange Line extension project over concerns about the line’s cost. For the last several years getting to the airport required transferring to a bus, for an additional fee.

As a separate project, the one stop extension actually came in under budget and ahead of schedule.

Though $150 million price tag is certainly higher than had the funding been available at the time to cover the cost overruns constructing the line, but spiting oneself with unrealistically low cost estimates and budgets is not unique to Texas or the transit project.

Closer to home though, BART is getting ready to open it’s own airport extension to Oakland International (OAK) in November with sleek new cable cars.

 •  2 notes

sfexaminer.com

You better have a ticket to ride Muni →

The good, but mostly bad and ugly that Muni fare inspectors put up with are helping keep the system safe and solvent.

Simple, Starving to be Safe: When the front of a public bus flashes “EQUALITY FOR ALL!” in bright lights, you can’t help but smile and appreciate how amazing this city really is.

Source: jsl009

 •  6 notes

Art around the city

Maybe the Muni logo could qualify as art. That iconic “worm” logo was create by renown designer Walter Landor; known for the FedEx (with the hidden arrow) and Levi’s logos among many others you see regularly.

The Muni Metro map on the other hand is nothing special, but a redesign will be required when the Central Subway opens in 2018 and maybe we can get something a bit more iconic.

The tile murals come from Powell Station, but you might have missed them if you didn’t use the southwest staircase on Market, on the far side of Fourth Street.

Source: hommexschool

 •  3 notes