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Monday, May 1, 2017

Daytime view looking west on 14th Street at its intersection with Market and Church streets with people walking, driving and a man bicycling.
Market at 14th and Church streets.

Our plans to make Upper Market Street safer with improvements including parking-protected bike lanes will be considered for approval by our SFMTA Board of Directors tomorrow.

This is a huge milestone for our Upper Market Street Safety Project, an effort to make Market, between Octavia Boulevard and Castro Street, safer and more comfortable for everyone. We've come to this point after more than two years of reaching out to the public, working with local businesses, coordinating with other city agencies and getting started with initial safety upgrades.

The Upper Market Street Project is an example of us putting Vision Zero, our city’s goal to eliminate all traffic deaths, into action. Data-driven street redesigns like this are crucial for the city to follow through on that ambitious but attainable commitment.

This mile-long stretch of Market is used by thousands of people biking, walking, riding transit and driving every day, and it has an overwhelming need for street safety improvements. From 2011 to 2016, there were 174 collisions, 22 involving someone walking and 51 involving someone biking.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Black and white photo showing a view north on Diamond Street near Chenery in San Francisco's Glen Park Neighborhood. in the foreground is a wooden bridge and streetcar rails, followed by a street curving uphill with a handful of early 20th century wooden houses and buildings.
"Downtown" Glen Park in 1908, as seen looking north from a rail bridge built for San Francisco's first electric streetcar line along what is now Diamond Street towards Chenery Street. Most of the buildings seen here are still standing today.

San Francisco's first electric streetcar line opened 125 years ago today on April 27, 1892. Operated by the San Francisco & San Mateo Railway Company (SF & SM Ry.), this pioneering line had a lasting imprint on transit in our city that continues to this day.

The SF & SM Ry. line ran from Steuart and Market streets through the South of Market and Mission districts via Harrison Street, Guerrero Street and San Jose Avenue to Glen Park, and ended at the cemeteries in Colma.

The line was made viable by the advantages electric streetcars provided over horse-drawn vehicles and cable cars, which were the predominant means of transportation at the time. They cost less to build and operate, could carry more passengers and traverse much longer distances at higher speeds. After they were proved to be a practical way to improve and expand public transit by inventor Frank Sprague in 1888, they came to dominate the transit scene around the world by 1900.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

This weekend is jam-packed with fun around the city, including the Clement Street Neighborhood EventSF Deltas soccer at Kezar Stadium, an early Mother’s Day celebration at the Treasure Island Flea Market  and SF Giants baseball games to wrap up their current homestand.

Check out this weekend's featured events below.

A crowd of people fills and tents fill Diamond Street during the 2014 Glen Park Festival.
An impressive crowd on Diamond Street during the 2014 Glen Park Festival. Photo: moppet65535/Flickr

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Parking-protected bike lane on 13th Street under the Central Freeway.
This existing parking-protected bike lane on westbound 13th Street will get complemented with upgrades in the eastbound direction.

In the coming weeks, 13th Street in SoMa will get safety upgrades, including a block of parking-protected bike lane, in the eastbound direction from Folsom to Bryant streets. This is thanks to approval from our Board of Directors last Tuesday.

Like the existing bike lanes on segments of 13th, the new lane will be separated from traffic using pavement markings, plastic posts and parked vehicles while maintaining visibility between people walking, biking and driving. It’ll also repurpose a traffic lane, which helps calm vehicle traffic by narrowing the roadway.

Monday, April 24, 2017

People and car traffic cross Howard Street at 7th Street. Howard has three traffic lanes, a bike lane and two parking lanes.
Howard at 7th Street.

We’re holding two open house meetings this week to show potential designs for a better Folsom and Howard streets in the South of Market area.

SoMa deserves livable streets. With our Folsom-Howard Streetscape Project, we aim to make these SoMa streets safer and more pleasant to walk, bike, shop and live on, and we need your help to make it happen.

This winter, at public open houses and online, more than 500 people told the SFMTA what their priorities were for improving Folsom and Howard streets. Community members gave us feedback on different elements of street design and what they thought made streets great.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Photos of one of Muni’s older, standard-length trolley buses at a stop on the 24 Divisadero route and one of Muni’s new, extended trolley buses traveling on the 14 Mission route.
Left: An older electric trolley bus (standard length). Right: A newer trolley bus (extended length).

You’ve seen Muni’s sleek new extended trolley buses roll out over the past couple of years. Now, it’s time for the rest of the electric bus fleet to get upgraded to the next generation.

All of Muni’s standard-length (40-foot) trolley buses, which you may know by the trolley poles that attach them to overhead wires on routes like the 1 California and 24 Divisadero, will be replaced with a new fleet by 2019. Thanks to an approval from our Board of Directors this week, the first new buses are due to arrive by the end of the year.

Like the new generation of Muni trains (which start service this year), these new trolley buses will go a long way towards making Muni more reliable, not to mention quieter and safer.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Muni bus on the 29 Sunset route on the recently-redesigned Mansell Street in McLaren Park.
A hybrid electric Muni bus on Mansell Street in McLaren Park, which was recently redesigned with a beautiful path for walking and biking.

Earth Day was started in 1970 to foster forward-thinking initiatives that would benefit the environment and the planet. At the SFMTA, we continue to meet that call to action with more achievements each year.

As Mayor Ed Lee announced this week, San Francisco reduced its greenhouse gas emissions to 28 percent below the 1990 levels in 2015, two years ahead of our goal to do so by 2017. Greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity, natural gas, fuel, waste and transportation, which is one of the largest contributors in the city, at about 46 percent (mostly from cars and trucks).

At the SFMTA, where we oversee Muni and all of San Francisco’s surface transportation, Earth Day’s message of sustainability is embedded in nearly every aspect of what we do every day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ed Reiskin speaking at a podium.

From the SFMTA’s Director of Transportation:

Not long ago, deaths caused by smoking, plane crashes and not wearing seatbelts were accepted as routine and commonplace in ways that are unthinkable in today’s United States. We’ve proven that, as a society, we can improve safety to achieve once inconceivable outcomes.

Last year in San Francisco, 30 people died just trying to make their way around town due to traffic collisions. The loss of these 30 mothers, sons, grandparents, friends and co-workers left many devastated, as have the similar numbers of deaths that have occurred in each recent year. These deaths are especially tragic because each one is preventable.

That’s why in 2014, we as a city adopted Vision Zero and said that by 2024, we would make traffic deaths a thing of the past. It may seem ambitious, or even unattainable, but no other goal is acceptable. We can absolutely prevent traffic deaths if we have the will to make it happen. We have seen dramatic success toward this goal in other cities and countries, and there’s no reason to think we can’t do it here in the City of St. Francis.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017


Take advantage of the forecasted sunny weather this weekend by coming downtown to celebrate Earth Day or take in a heart-pounding bicycle race in the Mission.

Here are this weekend’s featured events.

A man and child walk barefoot in mud at the Earth Day Festival in Civic Center Plaza.
Earth Day Fest at Civic Center Plaza. Photo via BARTable

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

One-hundred and eleven years ago, in the cool pre-dawn of April 18th, 1906, a massive earthquake rocked San Francisco, forever changing the landscape and future development of our fair, foggy city.

Among the buildings that never quite recovered from the quake and fires was a handsome brick cable car powerhouse that had stood as a landmark since 1883 at the corner of Market and Valencia streets, which was long known as "The Hub.” The Market and Valencia Powerhouse, owned and operated by the private United Railroads Company, was a key cable car facility, providing propulsion power and a variety of repair services.

Black and white photo taken in June, 1906 of a large brick building on Market and Valencia Streets. The building is partially damaged with the top of a tall smokestack broken off and light black smoke coming out of it.  Surrounding the building are piles of rubble from destroyed and damaged buildings.
A view of the Market and Valencia Powerhouse in June of 1906, two months after the earthquake and subsequent fires, which left residents without basic amenities like potable water. “Boil all water” can be seen scrawled on the side of the building as an impromptu public service notice.

As San Francisco scrambled to get back on its feet after the disaster, most of its cable car lines were converted to electric streetcar lines, and the powerhouse was no longer needed to move cable cars along Market Street. Instead, the facility occupying the block bounded by Market, Valencia, McCoppin and Gough streets became the site of a manufacturing plant for hot, tarry bitumen, a material used in pavement.