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Thursday, February 2, 2017

In 1949, the 5 Fulton took you out to the fun part of town: Playland-at-the-Beach.

Playland was an exhilarating (and often foggy) seaside assemblage of good times, with bumper cars, an infamous fun house with the mechanical Laffin’ Sal, an arcade and treats like the famous “IT’S-IT” ice cream sandwiches.

The image of Playland below was taken at the height of the fun, on February 2, 1949 – 68 years ago today. It shows the end of Muni’s 5 Fulton route with a new bus turnaround under construction at the foot of a towering wooden ride.

Black and white photograph looking south from Balboa and La Playa streets at construction of bus terminal in 1949.  To the right is a wooden amusement ride in Playland at the Beach amusement park.
In 1949, a new loop was under construction to allow trolley buses to turn around at the end of the 5 Fulton route at LaPlaya and Balboa streets. Playland structures are visible to the right and in the background.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Muni bus travelling on the Great Highway under a bright blue sky.
A southbound 18 46th Avenue bus on the Great Highway in February 2015.

Event:

KP SF Half Marathon & 5K
Sunday, 8 a.m.
Golden Gate Park

While many people will be spending their Sunday morning getting ready for the big game in Houston, a dedicated few will be lacing up their running shoes to tackle the most scenic running course in the country — the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon. This certified 13.1 mile course will lead participants through picturesque Golden Gate Park and out onto the Great Highway for the natural beauty of Ocean Beach. Runners will then head south to the San Francisco Zoo and then back up to the park to hit the finish line on JFK Drive.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

To people who feel underprivileged and out of sync: rising to the top can happen to those who persevere and compete. - Curtis E. Green

Those were the encouraging words of Curtis Green in 1982, when he retired from the San Francisco Municipal Railway as the first black general manager of a major transit system in the nation.

Green's career at Muni spanned 37 years, from 1945 to 1982, during which he helped shape the system we know today. He was known to be well liked by everyone, including personal friend Supervisor Harvey Milk. 

Black and white photo of Curtis Green and Harvey Milk standing in front of a streetcar.
Muni General Manager Curtis Green (left) selling Supervisor Harvey Milk a Fast Pass on Feb. 2, 1978.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Muni’s Kirkland bus division has a storied history with the Fisherman’s Wharf district. Located near Pier 39, Kirkland is one of San Francisco’s smallest and oldest bus yards — but also one of the most visible.

To add to the rich history of the area, we recently added banners along the fence around the yard that display a timeline of Muni’s history and photographs from our historic archive. To see the images in order, follow the timeline along the block of Powell Street from Beach to North Point Street.

Two photos of the fence outside Kirkland bus yard on Powell at Beach Street. In one photo, a 47 Van Ness Muni bus is next to the curb.
A new banner along the Kirkland bus yard at Powell and Beach streets features a timeline of Muni history.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

 A cable car with riders heads down a hill towards the bay during daytime in 1947.
Friedel Klussman (left) examining the inner workings of the cable car turntable at Powell and Market streets in 1949.

Cable cars are, truly, only in San Francisco. And for that, we have Friedel Klussmann to thank.

Seventy years ago, some city leaders wanted to tear out the 1870s-era transit system of wooden vehicles towed by an underground cable system, which they saw as more of a costly nuisance than a joyous marvel. Klussman led the campaign that preserved much of the wondrous system that still draws millions of visitors from around the world each year (and, yes, carries some of us commuters).

Klussmann was remembered in an article in the SF Chronicle this week, which marks the 70-year anniversary of when “Mayor Roger Lapham proclaimed, ‘Junk the cable cars!”’ (as the Chronicle’s headline put it at the time).

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

People watching as dogs compete at a dog show.
The Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show on January 30, 2011. Photo credit: Aforonda/Flickr.

Events:

SF Zoo Lunar New Year Celebration
Saturday and Sunday
Sunset

This Saturday is Chinese New Year and the San Francisco Zoo helps to usher in the Year of the Rooster this weekend and next weekend as it hosts its Lunar New Year Celebration. In addition to traditional Chinese lion and folk dance performances, there will also be a zodiac scavenger hunt through the zoo where participants can learn interesting facts about the animals featured in the Chinese calendar.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A man rides in a bike lane between the sidewalk and a concrete island where people board a Muni bus on 11th Street at Harrison Street.

At 11th and Harrison streets in SoMa, we recently made a subtle but important safety upgrade for people biking and boarding Muni. While this street design is common internationally, it’s still fairly novel for American cities, but we're looking to make improvements like these to make our streets easier to navigate.

As part of Muni Forward upgrades for the 9 San Bruno route last month, we “flipped” the southbound bus stop and bike lane on 11th Street: The bike lane now runs between the sidewalk and a new transit boarding island.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pedestrians wait to cross in front of Balboa Park Station while a bus pulls up in the red transit-only lane and traffic passes on the left.
Geneva Avenue shows some of the recent Balboa Park area improvements, including a bus-and-taxi-only lane and new median plantings.

Balboa Park Station Community Advisory Committee: 6 – 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 24
City College of San Francisco, Multi-Use Building Room 140
55 Phelan Ave.
Nearby Muni Routes: 8, 8BX, 29, 43, 49, 54, Muni Metro: J, K, M

Stop by for a series of presentations highlighting what the city is working on for Balboa Park Station. Speakers from SF Planning, the SFCTA, and BART will be on-hand to provide project updates and answer any questions. Topics include the Balboa Area Transportation Demand Management Plan, I-280 Interchange Modifications, and BART’s Kiss-and-Ride. The full agenda is available online.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A car parked in a curbside parking space with car-share markings.

A lot of San Franciscans only need to drive sometimes. If you can mostly get around by foot, bike and transit, you might not need to own a car, but would like to still have a convenient option to drive for the occasional mountain hike or furniture shopping.

That’s why we’ve seen the recent rise of car sharing: Cars you can rent near your home, for those who don’t want to own a whole car - just “enough” car.

Car sharing services give people the flexibility they need to sell their car (or forego buying one). In turn, it frees up parking spaces for those who need them most.

But just how many people use each car-share vehicle? And as we bring more on-street car-share parking spaces to make it convenient for more people, how do we best foster these services to benefit everyone in the city?

These are the kinds of questions we explored in our new On-Street Car Sharing Pilot Program Evaluation Report [PDF]. Through this pilot program, since 2014 we’ve permitted about 200 dedicated curbside parking spaces to car sharing services around the city to supplement the spaces in parking garages and lots.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

We recently passed a major milestone: The SFMTA Photo Archive now has over 8,000 photos, spanning 50 years of San Francisco transit history, digitized and published online for you to explore.

For today’s trip back in time, we’ll share three samples from the years between 1903 and 1953, all taken on Market Street.

Black and white photograph showing an overhead view of Market Street, looking east from 4th Street.  Pedestrians are walking across Market at the bottom of the frame, with streetcars, buses, and automobiles mid-frame beyond. building facades flank the street at frame left and right.  Photo taken October 1, 1948.
Buses, streetcars and pedestrians on Market, looking east from 4th Street on October 1, 1948.