Great E-line Startup Piece in The Examiner

Right after this shot was snapped, Mayor Dianne Feinstein (left) took the controls of Muni Car No.1 and personally piloted it down Market Street to open the first Trolley Festival in June 1983. That success led to the permanent F-line, and now the E-line.

Right after this shot was snapped, Mayor Dianne Feinstein (left) took the controls of Muni Car No.1 and personally piloted it down Market Street to open the first Trolley Festival in June 1983. That success led to the permanent F-line, and now the E-line.

 

The Examiner’s Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez gave us a ring in the morning, asking for the history behind the E-line. Among other things, he was curious why the line is named E when it’s starting service 20 years after the F.  We explained that the E-Embarcadero was originally given that letter in 1979, when Muni Planning first included it in its Long Range Transit Plan (very long range, as it turned out). It was envisioned to run from Fort Mason to the Caltrain Depot along the waterfront, following the old State Belt freight railroad route, an idea first proposed a decade earlier by San Francisco Tomorrow. The following year, they included the F-Market in their plan from the Ferry to Castro.

We explained to Joe that the Market line was dubbed F, simply because it followed E in the alphabet.  (Both had originally belonged to vanished Muni streetcar lines, the E-Union (now the 41 bus) and F-Stockton (now the 30 bus)). We also told him that some believed the “F” was for Feinstein, since then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein made the F-line a reality by personally championing the summer demonstration Trolley Festivals of the 1980s on Market.  (And by the way, we would be the first to sign up by making the F-for-Feinstein line official!)

Still, we were blown away to see such a strong endorsement of Market Street Railway’s advocacy for the E-line from now-Senator Feinstein in the Examiner article.

The story accurately portrays SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin’s role in bringing the E-line to reality.  We also pointed out the roles of his team in supporting the E-line startup, noting that bringing any new transit line into service is a complex task. And we singled out other community leaders, such as key waterfront businesses and neighborhood groups, and Dr. Mimi Silbert, President of Delancey Street Foundation, who have been staunch E-line supporters.

We also mentioned the key roles of Mayor Art Agnos and the late Doug Wright, his transportation deputy mayor (and later Market Street Railway board chair), in ensuring that the F-line tracks were connected to the extension of the Muni Metro subway along the Southern Embarcadero, completing that physical connection for the E-line. Those things, though, like the origin of the E and F designations, didn’t make the story, but understandably so, given its impressive length already.

We were also pleased to see that the Ex highlighted our call for volunteer docents to work the first few weekends of the E-line, starting August 1. You can sign up at volunteer@streetcar.org.  We thank MSR Board Chair Bruce Agid and Board Member Katie Haverkamp for their leadership in organizing our support for SFMTA in conjunction with the E-line’s opening.

Watch this space, and the SFMTA website, for more information on E-line startup activities.