The 5 Returns to its Historic Route

As our friends at SF Streetsblog reported today, the SFMTA has restored Muni’s 5-Fulton bus line to two way operation on McAllister Street inbound from Hyde to Market. Bravo.


5-042 819 Eb on McAllister at Larkin 1941 (City Hall).jpg

5-line streetcar inbound on McAllister at Larkin, 1941. It will go straight to Market, unlike the successor trolley buses that had to detour down Hyde for decades. By the way, Market Street Railway volunteers are restoring the twin of this streetcar. That car, No. 798, is the only one of 250 of this type that survives — streetcars hand-built by San Francisco workers in the shops of our namesake, Market Street Railway Company.

Backstory: in San Francisco’s first obsession with auto-mania in the 1950s, many downtown streets became one-way that in retrospect didn’t need to. After decades, that’s finally starting to be rectified. From its opening as a cable car line in 1883, what became the 5-line ran both ways on McAllister, a routing that continued after its conversion to streetcars in 1906, then buses in 1948. When the first few blocks of McAllister become one-way, the 5-line trolley coaches were made to jog down Hyde to reach Market, adding three minutes to every inbound trip.
Similar slower routings were imposed on the 6, 7, and 71 lines when Haight was inexplicably made one way for a few blocks, and on Hayes for the 21-line, but now SFMTA is looking at restoring those routes as well.
Simpler is better, dontcha think?