Saturday, January 23, 2010

Market Street's F-Line

Carl Nolte has a great front page article in today's Chronicle about Market Street as San Francisco's Main Street. I confess that I have always found most of Market Street a poor imitation of a major city's grand boulevard. Those sad, spindly trees and vacant storefronts give it a desperate, let's-not-walk-here air. Of course that's not at all the case in the Castro, where Market Street is still bustling, or around the 5th Street shopping district where tourists line up for hours at the cable car turn-around across the street, or at its terminus at the Ferry Building, where the Embarcadero has become a dreamy waterfront promenade since the freeway came down (note to tourists at the Powell Street cable car stop: go to California and Market instead, walk on to a cable car that climbs to the top of Nob Hill - no waiting!). The best part of Market Street, the one thing that works from beginning to end, is the F-Line historic streetcars, those museums-on-wheels that harken back to a bygone era, but no sepia tones here. Painted in bright red and yellow and orange, and representing cities around the globe, they bring history and drama, a great splash of color and reliable public transit to Market Street. The non-profit Market Street Railway organization is responsible for this program - they purchase and refurbish the old streetcars from cities around the world and keep them running on MUNI's tracks. We have them to thank for making Market Street worthy of our world-class city's Main Street. Go take a ride on the F-Line from Fisherman's Wharf to the Castro soon - the ticket price may go up to match the exorbitant cable car prices ($5 - egad).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dee Dee,

    Appreciate your investing in this blog.

    I was part of reconstruction of F Line tracks in 1989-1992, consulting for SF DPW and Muni in its planning and construction. This will be a story to retell...we almost didn't have this line if you go back in time.

    What human scale travel...when PCC stops by Castro, you can feel the neighborhood energy entering the car!