Trains in the Plane Place

Well, sort of. We get out to SFO a lot coming and going on business trips, and have had some nice surprises there over the years, like the great display of model trains they had in the International Terminal back in 2009.

We also keep seeing plugs for the F-line popping up around the airport. Here’s a current one up in Terminal One, featuring PCC No. 1078, painted in tribute to San Diego (but with the actual words “San Diego” understandably removed from the rear emblem – hey, why plug the tourism competition!). SFMTA, Muni’s parent, put it up as part of their ongoing campaign. It promotes Muni Passports for visitors. We think we see a bit of an homage there to our Historic Travel Series evoking rail transit’s glorious past (and present) in San Francisco. If so, we’re delighted.

This one, though, is a bit of a head-scratcher. We saw it in a store in the wonderfully reborn Terminal 2 (SFO’s original 1954 terminal). This wasn’t for sale in the store, but was used as a decoration. (No, the clerk didn’t know where it could be purchased; post a comment if you know.)
Clear enough what this is, though. It’s a take-off on those New York subway roll signs with Gotham decorations that get mounted as art and sell for beaucoup bucks. Well, we’ve got roll sign destinations from our streetcar and bus fleets as well. Trouble is, Muni has traditionally listed either a terminal intersection or a landmark (like Ocean Beach or Fort Mason) on its destination rolls, so some of these, like Nob Hill, Cole Valley, and Cow Hollow, don’t appear on actual Muni signs. Probably won’t matter to anyone but fans, though, and it’s a nice reminder on one’s way out of town of the pleasurable places that await on one’s return.

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Thank You, SPUR!

SPUR is one of the great urban planning non-profits in the world. Formally named San Francisco Planning and Urban Research, the organization is widely respected as a powerful and responsible advocate for making our city more livable as well as economically strong and esthetically beautiful.
Market Street Railway President Rick Laubscher was one of four San Franciscans honored last week with Silver SPUR awards, given annually for helping make “San Francisco and the Bay Area a better place to live and work.” Here’s the video SPUR showed of Rick.

2011 Silver SPUR Awards: Rick Laubscher from SPUR on Vimeo.

SPUR’s announcement of Rick’s award said, in part, “Rick Laubscher is most well known for his transformative impact on Market Street’™s historic streetcars, but his transportation advocacy and commitment to San Francisco’™s important historic treasures extends well beyond the Market Street Railway. A fourth-generation San Franciscan, Rick and his family have long been engaged in the vibrant life of Market Street. Among his civic contributions, Rick served as founding board chair of The City Club of San Francisco, on SPUR’s board and transportation committee, and on the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce board. Over his career, Rick has been a radio and television news reporter, a corporate public relations executive and a civic activist.”
In his acceptance remarks to the 2,000 people attending the awards luncheon at Moscone West, Rick said he considers the honor to belong to all those who have worked so hard to keep historic transit a vibrant part of our city’s present, and, through expansion to Fort Mason and Mission Bay, an even bigger part of its future. He noted that It is the collective work of dozens of champions, both inside the city family — at Muni and other departments and in the political leadership — and among citizen-advocates in Market Street Railway and other organizations, that have brought San Francisco the F-line, the promise of the E-line, and enhanced cable car service.
Rick also invited those in the audience who share Market Street Railway’s view that Muni’s historic streetcars should be an even more important part of the city’s future to get involved as advocates for the streetcars, either by joining MSR or by acting independently to let city decision-makers know of their support. He said, “We especially welcome the involvement of a new generation of San Franciscans in helping us integrate the historic streetcars with better bicycle, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure, especially on the street where I grew up, Market Street.”
SPUR produced great videos explaining the work of each honoree. They tell their stories succinctly. Here are the links to the videos for Natalie Berg, Art Gensler, and Dale Minami.
The Silver SPUR award recipients this year, as in past years, demonstrate the many ways individuals can contribute to a better city. Congratulations to all of them.

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