PCC streetcars pass reach other on Market Street
The city’s pilot program to greatly reduce automobile traffic on Market Street downtown gets two thumbs up from us. No surprise – Market Street Railway has been advocating this for years because it should make F-line service faster and more reliable.
As reported in the Chronicle, the city has agreed to a six-week test starting September 29, forcing automobiles eastbound on Market to turn south on Tenth Street or Eighth Street, leaving the rest of eastbound Market to the Ferry reserved for Muni vehicles, taxis, and delivery vehicles. Westbound auto traffic won’t be banned, as it was deemed not to be causing congestion problems for Muni.
Streetsblog San Francisco has considerable coverage of the decision, including discussion of possible permanent changes on downtown Market Street that could grow out of the trial.
This idea has been around for years, but had stalled repeatedly largely because of skepticism from business owners. Market Street Railway has championed the “test” approach as a no-cost way to try it out. We have noted that this is how the F-line got its start, through the summer Trolley Festival of 1983, which won over skeptics who thought vintage streetcars wouldn’t be popular on Market. Similarly, the test closing of 17th Street at the Castro F-line terminal has won over most who claimed the plaza created in the street would just become a homeless encampment (in fact, it has been a great neighborhood gathering place).
So let’s see how this Market Street trial works. With no eastbound automobiles clogging up F-line stops east of Sixth (especially Fourth, Third, and First Streets), F-line streetcars as well as Muni buses sharing the track lane should operate much more efficiently.
(Thanks to Todd Lappin for the use of the photo. You can see more of Todd’s great F-line pix, and those of other photographers at our Flickr site, comment on them and submit your own as well.)