Clearing a Path on Market Street?

The Chronicle’s story the other day about a study to restrict automobiles on Market Street downtown contains an important nugget of information that got buried in the story.

“‘There has been a change in attitude over the last five years,’ said Carolyn Diamond, executive director of the Market Street Association, a nonprofit organization that promotes the beautification and economic development of the central corridor. ‘This may be a way for the city to become better,’ she said.’

Merchant opposition to any auto restrictions on Market has been a big stumbling block to speeding transit service, including F-line streetcars of course. Sounds like there’s greater understanding now that with no parking, left turns, or driveways between Eight Street and the Ferry Building, moving cars off Market won’t hurt shopping. And this time, the study appears to be on a fast track — three months for the County Transportation Authority to take a look and report back.

The main legislative proponent of the change, Supervisor Chris Daly, first raised it with us at our annual meeting something like five years ago, and we told him we would likely be supportive depending on the details. In the Chronicle article, he says he expects to implement it in “baby steps,” probably with daytime restrictions first.

This is an important issue to Market Street Railway because automobile traffic on the tracks east of Fifth Street can greatly slow F-line service, adding several minutes to running times which, in turn, cuts the effective capacity of the line. We’ll be watching this…let us know what you think.

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MSR Annual Meeting March 10

MSR Members are welcomed to our annual meeting on Tuesday, March 10. We’ll meet as usual at the IBEW Local 6 Hall, 55 Fillmore Street, one block north of Duboce (N-line Duboce and Church stop, F-line Church Street stop, 22-line bus).

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. (note corrected time; Inside Track said 5:00 p.m.). Socializing until 6:30, browse our sales table, learn about volunteer opportunities, and catch up with friends old and new. The program will start at 6:30 p.m. with an MTA update from Chief Operating Officer Ken McDonald. MSR President Rick Laubscher will present an update on our organization and take questions. We’ll make some awards, then cap the evening with some old San Francisco video.

No need to RSVP. Just be there!

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Monsters vs. Milan Tram

Did you see it during the Super Bowl? No, not the great plays on the field, the commercial for the upcoming animated film “Monsters Vs. Aliens”? We know the premise — scientists unleash monsters to battle an alien invasion — but what’s fascinating is a, uh, plot vehicle. Specifically, Milan tram No. 1811. Its another example of the growing visibility of the Milan trams as a San Francisco institution. We’ll have a story on that in the next issue of our member newsletter, Inside Track, which will go out to Market Street Railway members in early April. For now, enjoy the movie trailer, and feel free to speculate about what part No. 1811 might play in saving the world.

UPDATE: Closer inspection of the movie trailers shows the tram to be numbered “2930”, not an F-line fleet number. No question what they modeled the animated tram on though — No. 1811 is the only Milan tram in that yellow and white livery.

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