July 26, 2014
A combination of events has left the F-line without streetcar service on one of the biggest visitor weekends of the year, July 25-26. You’ll only see buses on the F-line all weekend.
The historic streetcars’ overnight base was moved last month to Muni Metro East, just off Third Street and the T-line, to allow rails to be replaced near their long-time home at Cameron Beach Yard across town. This means that the historic streetcars now enter and leave F-line service via tracks along the southern Embarcadero. The last two blocks of these tracks, from Howard Street to the F-line tracks just south of Market, were built for the future E-line and had not been used in regular service. So, for several years now, they have been used by the San Francisco Marathon as a staging area.
It was too late to change that for this year’s Marathon, which starts Sunday morning, but Muni has told the Marathon organizers that they will have to find an alternative location by next year’s event, because the E-line is slated to be in regular weekend service by then.
Market Street Railway was not aware of this operating conflict until last week. We don’t know when Muni, the owner-operator of the F-line, first learned of it, but in any event, the Marathon had a firm contract in place and is an important part of the summer scene in the City. But the streetcars are too, so it’s unfortunate that this conflict is keeping the streetcars off the streets this weekend.
Months before either we or the Marathon organizers knew that the streetcars were to move their base, we got together at the Marathon’s initiative, and created mile markers for the runners that celebrate the historic streetcars, using the graphic images created by our ace designer David Dugan. So a touch of irony there.
The Marathon has also made a generous donation to Market Street Railway, for which we thank them. We and the Marathon organizers agree the streetcars themselves, not just images, should be on the street when the race runs in 2015 and beyond.