America’s Cup Plan Includes E-line Service, Mentions Fort Mason Extension

The “People Plan” to bring spectators to the shoreline of San Francisco Bay for the 34th America’s Cup races includes historic streetcar service on the E-Embarcadero line, plus the possibility of implementing the F-line extension to Fort Mason in time for the races. The streetcar part of the plan seems at least symbolically important to the America’s Cup folks, since they used the cool photo montage above at the top of their webpage discussing the plan.
The plan, announced today by Mayor Edwin M. Lee, is still in “early draft form.” That means it’s at the “round up the usual ideas” phase. However, two of those ideas are projects Market Street Railway has been advocating for a long time.
The first is historic streetcar service on the E-line all the way along the waterfront from the Caltrain Depot to Fisherman’s Wharf. Thanks in large part to our advocacy, the connecting tracks and low-level boarding islands have been completed south of the Ferry Building to allow the vintage streetcars to share tracks with the N- and T-line trains coming out of the Market Street subway at Folsom.
Oddly, though, the plan (downloadable here at the bottom of the summary page) only calls for E-line service during actual race days, calling it an “excellent opportunity to test the conditions under which that service can provide the most benefit to the Embarcadero corridor.”
Just to recap: the E-line has BEEN tested several times in single-day service, most recently for Sunday Streets events, and has passed with flying colors every time. In fact, the E-line has been promised to residents and businesses along the route since at least 2000, when then-Mayor Willie Brown told the crowds on the opening day of the F-line Wharf extension, “You’ll get your E-line.”
Inauguration of regular E-line service has been delayed several times, most recently because of insufficient streetcars to handle the E while still providing adequate service on the F-line. But the 16 additional streetcars joining the fleet by next year will provide enough equipment to start up the E-line full-tme. So what’s with the idea of yet another “test” in 2013, even though Muni’s own Transit Enhancement Plan calls for full-time E-line service sooner than that?
The prospect of quick construction of the Fort Mason streetcar extension is mentioned as a possibility “to be evaluated” as a possible enhancement to America’s Cup transit service. We’re the first to say it would take an exceptional effort, by San Francisco standards, to have the extension operating by the America’s Cup final races. But the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the extension is currently open for public comments, a key milestone in the project. It’s worth noting that the City of Seattle went from City Council approval of the South Lake Union line (twice as long as the Fort Mason extension) to inaugurating service in that same short time span.
The Mayor is asking for comments on the proposed America’s Cup transportation plan by email. Drop him a line and give him your views on improving waterfront streetcar service for this great global sailing event.

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Exclusive Narrated Streetcar Tour May 22


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Riders on the first Market Street Railway/City Guides Trolley Tour

Market Street Railway and San Francisco City Guides are collaborating on a memorable vintage streetcar ride along Muni’s historic F-line on Sunday, May 22 from 1-3pm. This unique tour celebrating the City’s rich transit history will begin and end at the San Francisco Railway Museum at 77 Steuart Street just opposite the Embarcadero from the landmark Ferry Building.
Join tour guides Ethan Chickering from City Guides and Philip Hoffman from Market Street Railway on one of our priceless “museums in motion” for their informative ride along the F-line where you will learn interesting historical facts about famous Fisherman’s Wharf, traditional North Beach, the scenic Embarcadero and colorful Ferry Plaza, the busy financial district, world famous Powell & Market, classic Civic Center, imposing Mint Hill and the lively Castro.
The tour concludes with refreshments at the San Francisco Railway Museum, a program of the non-profit all-volunteer Market Street Railway.
Sign up now at the “early bird” rate of $25 per person. This fee changes to $30 on May 1. All proceeds go to support Market Street Railway and City Guides in their work to keep San Francisco’s transit history alive. Refreshments included. Please note: As your ticket purchase will provide funds required to charter the streetcar from Muni, all ticket sales must be final.
Come learn how transit shaped San Francisco’s history!

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This Week: Evening Buses on the F-line

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Muni is doing some work on the overhead wires along Market Street, so starting tonight (Sunday) and lasting through at least Thursday the 31st, the F-line will be operated with buses its entire length after 8 p.m. You’ll start to see buses on the line as early as 5 p.m. when evening runs pull out. Don’t worry, it’s just a short-term thing.

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Photo of the (Past) Moment: Not a Streetcar, But…

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This is one of 70 remarkable images selected by the Denver Post photo blog that provide a marvelous window into America, and Americans, about 70 years ago. No, they’re not all train pictures, either (though there are a half dozen or so rail shots and a few of war planes). Mostly, they are pictures of people at work or at home, taken by photographers from the federal Farm Security Administration and the Office of War Information, using what was then a new and remarkable image technology.

Those who only know Kodachrome from the Paul Simon song have the wrong impression. It didn’t just bring us “those nice bright colors,” it captured a reality unlike any earlier technology, whether somber or sunny. These 70 photographs are worth savoring, one at a time, for what they say about the America – and Americans – of that day, and about a remarkable product much beloved by so many photographers who used it for more than half a century to capture memorable images. Take a look at these photographs when you have time to really look.

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Cam Beach, Remembered

Cameron Beach was well remembered at a touching service at Grace Cathedral on Thursday, attended by hundreds of friends. Comments about his great smile abounded; stories of how he bridged the divide between streetcar fans and bus fans brought laughter. We will have extensive coverage of this service and a tribute to Cam’s life in the forthcoming issue of our member newsletter, Inside Track, on which we are starting work now. (The newsletter members will receive in their mailboxes in… — Read More

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Cameron Beach, 1949-2011

San Francisco has lost a true civic leader and passionate transit advocate with the passing last night of Cameron Beach at his West Portal home. Cam, 62, had just returned from a business trip to southern California when he collapsed. Paramedics, who arrived within a few minutes, were unable to revive him. Cam was a member of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) board of directors, who was seeking reappointment to the board at the time of his death.… — Read More

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Fort Mason Streetcar a Step Closer

Historic streetcar service to Aquatic Park and Fort Mason came a step closer today with the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the extension. The National Park Service was the lead agency on the DEIS because much of the 0.85 mile extension from Jones and Jefferson Streets to Fort Mason Center traverses federal parkland. However, the final design, construction, and operation of the extension would be done by Muni (part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency).… — Read More

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Photo of the (Past) Moment: 70-line to the Ball Park?

This photo was posted to our Flickr group with the title “70 GRAND RAIL PARK” and the question, “Anyone know where this thing is heading?” The shot brought back memories, but not accurate ones at first. I commented on Flickr that it was going to East Bay Terminal of course, in service in the first year of the Trolley Festival, 1983, and that the headsign actually read “70 Grand/Ball Park,” the ball park being the first Busch Stadium, home of… — Read More

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