Our first post about Carl Nolte’s Chronicle column on the “not-so-good old days” on Market Street mentioned that back when there were four streetcar tracks on Market, there was less than two feet of clearance between Muni and Market Street Railway Co. streetcars — including the stops where passengers had to stand while behemoth streetcars bore down on them.
This 1935 video, one of the You Tube sources Nolte mentions in his column, shows just how terrifying that tight squeeze was. (It comes up one minute into the video.)
The film itself was a campaign tool in support of two ballot measures — one to build a Muni subway under Market Street, the other to replace streetcars with buses. Both failed, although of course a Market Street subway was eventually built, almost half a century later. (By the way, the segments claiming buses were better than streetcars were filmed in … Oakland.)
Our non-profit has access to a trove of historic motion picture film from all over San Francisco, taken from 1906 through the 1970s. We’ve created some specially narrated segments from that film, available to see at our San Francisco Railway Museum, and we’re working on more. Later this year, we’ll be offering all of those video segments on a DVD available at the museum and here on our website, with all proceeds benefiting Market Street Railway’s programs. We’ll let you know when it goes on sale.