Sunday, August 27, 2017

San Francisco – Market Street Railway Streetcar Excursion: 27 August 2017

This was a twenty-five mile 4-hour excursion on San Francisco's F, J, K, L, and M streetcar lines. Destinations and sights included the San Francisco Ferry Building, Market Street, Civic Center, the San Francisco Mint, the Castro, Mission Dolores Park, Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, Glen Park, City College and St Francis Wood. Plus, the West Portal entrance to Twin Peaks Tunnel, the Great Highway, Stonestown, San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Zoo.

All Aboard! 

Click on an image to see the full-size photograph.

Like San Francisco, Melbourne, Australia utilized both cable cars and streetcars well into the twentieth century. Melbourne’s transit system was dominated by the W2-class streetcars. These streetcars were designed with closed sections at both ends of the streetcar; the middle section was used for boarding and disembarking. More than 750 W-class streetcars were built between 1923 and 1956. W-class streetcar # 496 was put into service in Melbourne on 18 February 1928.


In 1984, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency purchased streetcar # 496. With volunteer help from the Market Street Railway, streetcar # 496 has been cosmetically restored, made wheelchair-accessible, and provided with a GPS system. Otherwise, it’s mostly unchanged from its 56 years of service in Australia.


This is a view of streetcar # 496. It is idling on Steuart Street, close to Don Chee Way, the location from which we will board the streetcar.
This is streetcar # 1895.The second most common type of streetcar in Muni’s historic fleet is an American classic with an Italian accent. This streetcar, which was constructed in 1928, is named for Cleveland, Ohio's railway commissioner Peter Witt who designed it in 1915. His idea was to speed loading by putting the conductor in the middle of the car, letting crowds board through the front door and paying as they passed the conductor and then the passengers exited through the rear door.


Peter Witts” ran in 15 U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Los Angeles. The design was also exported to cities such as Toronto, Mexico City, Madrid, and three Italian cities, Naples, Turin, and Milan.
The city of Milan built approximately 500 "Peter Witts" streetcars starting in 1928, some of which are still operational in Milan. San Francisco's Muni now has ten "Peter Witts" Milan streetcars for use on the F-Market & Wharves streetcar line.

Streetcar # 1080 which was built in 1946, is painted in the colors of the Los Angeles Railway, which operated PCC streetcars after World War II. 


Los Angeles Railway was acquired in 1945 by National City LinesOperating as Los Angeles Transit Lines, National City Lines bought forty additional streetcars in 1948, to modernize the P-Pico streetcar line. The P-Pico streetcar line ran from the Pacific Ocean to downtown Los Angeles.
In 1958, the publicly owned Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority took over the Los Angeles Transit Line. There was a daily average ridership of 40,000 people on the P-Pico streetcar line. Which is approximately twice what the crowded F-Market & Wharves San Francisco streetcar line handles today. Despite the high ridership numbers, streetcars disappeared from Los Angeles in 1963. Automobile domination of the Los Angeles area was now complete. 
Rail transportation is now undergoing a renaissance in Los Angeles, with both heavy-rail subway and light rail lines slowly spreading across the region.
Streetcar # 496, was used for our excursion. It is pulling up to the passenger boarding platform sited on Don Chee Way, the location of the Market Street Railway Museum.
We are now heading outbound, going south on Market Street. Paul Lucas and Katie are the two Market Street Railway volunteers who guided us on this excursion. 
This is a view of Market Street from the rear of the streetcar; the Ferry Building is visible in the background. We are on the F-Market & Wharves streetcar line.
This is a view of the northern entryway to the Church Street Bypass. Mission Dolores Park is visible; we are traveling outbound on the J-Church light rail line. 
This is a view from within the Church Street Bypass.
Here is a view from San Jose Avenue. We are still on the J-Church light rail line, and we just exited the Bernal Cut (2)(3).
Ahead are San Francisco's Excelsior District and the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood. This view is looking south.
Emma and Nick are both transit drivers for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. For normal daily transportation, the majority of streetcars have only a single transit driver. Whenever a streetcar tour occurs, two transit drivers occupy each streetcar. Emma was the transit driver of Streetcar # 496 and Nick was the acting conductor. It was a pleasure to be on a streetcar under their control.
A view of Streetcar # 496; Emma is at the controls. Paul Lucas, a volunteer who expertly guided us on this adventure, is standing on the left. We are now on the M-Oceanview light rail line.
This is the western terminus of the L-Taraval light rail line. We are on Forty-seventh Avenue, adjacent to the San Francisco Zoo and one block from the Pacific Ocean.
Emma is standing proudly in front of streetcar # 496.
We are now at the Church Street Bypass and we are returning to the Ferry Building, the starting point of our ride.
The route: The distance traveled was approximately 25 miles (40.2 kilometers). The cumulative elevation gain was about 1,365 feet (416 meters). Mile markers are displayed on the GPS generated track. Click on the image to see the full-size map.
Go Here to view: The 100th anniversary of the J-Church streetcar line: 11 August 2017

Go Here to view: Market Street Heritage Weekend: 9 & 10 September 2017



“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” Dorothea Lang 

Volume one of my San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs that were posted on the Internet between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view those photo galleries.

Thanks to Market Street Railway and all of its volunteers for helping to make this excursion a reality. I would also like to thank Rick Laubscher for authoring "OnTrack: A Field Guide to San Francisco's Streetcars and Cable Cars." The book is an excellent source of information about the historic streetcars and cable cars being used in San Francisco.

A Sony camera was used to take these photographs.

Question or comment? I may be reached at neil@mishalov.com

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Photographs from Berkeley: 26 August 2017

Click on each image to see the full-size photograph.
















“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” Dorothea Lang 

The first volume of the San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs that were posted on the Internet between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view those photo galleries.

A Sony camera was used to take these photographs.

Question or comment? I may be reached at neil@mishalov.com

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Succulent Plants: 24 August 2017

These photos of succulent plants, amongst others, were taken in Berkeley, California.

Click on each image to see the full-size photograph.







Sunflower
Sunflower
Sunflower
A grasshopper is visible in this picture.



I was outside reading the latest news reports when a ladybug joined me.

Click Here to view flower close-ups: part one

Click Here to view flower close-ups: part two

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” Dorothea Lang 

The first volume of the San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs that were posted on the Internet between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view those photo galleries.

A Sony camera was used to take these photographs.

Question or comment? I may be reached at neil@mishalov.com

Monday, August 21, 2017

The 100 year anniversary of San Francisco's J-Church streetcar line: 11 August 2017


Click on an image to see the full-size photograph.

THEN: This picture was taken on 11 August 1917, the opening day of the J-Church streetcar line. James “Sunny Jim” Rolph, the Mayor of San Francisco, is piloting the streetcar.

NOW: The location is in the western section of Mission Dolores Park and is contiguous with Church Street. This streetcar is traveling outbound, and the view is looking north. This photograph was taken on 13 August 2017.


11 August 2017 was the 100th anniversary of the public opening of San Francisco’s J-Church streetcar line. The J-Church Muni Metro light rail line still runs along the same route down Market and Church streets, through Mission Dolores Park and then to Noe Valley. The J-Church light rail streetcar line follows a unique path along its roughly seven-mile route.

Most of the original J-Church tracks were installed by mid-1916, but the line remained incomplete due to disagreements between the private United Railroads Company, the City of San Francisco, and residents who lived near the new streetcar line. 
For several years, a group of San Franciscans who lived on the steep portion of Church Street in the Dolores Heights neighborhood, wanted the streetcar line to be served by cable cars instead of electric streetcars. Most people saw cable cars as an outdated and slow form of transit, and the electrified J-Church streetcar prevailed as the type of streetcar used on the J-Church transit line. 
The line was, however, built with a unique route to bypass the steep section of Church Street. Instead of a straight path over the hill, the J-Church line was constructed on a route through a small portion of Mission Dolores Park, and thanks to an eminent domain ruling by the California State court, a small part of the line runs through the former backyards of houses south of Delores Park. The J-Church streetcar line made its first official run on Saturday 11 August 1917, to great fanfare.
For about eight decades, the J-Church streetcar line ran from the Ferry Building to the terminus of the line at Church Street at 30th Street in Noe Valley, providing an important downtown connection for residents. By the late 1970s, the BART system was operational, the Muni Metro system was nearing completion, and Muni started planning to extend the J-Church light rail line to the Balboa Park BART Station. This extension would provide better service and a new regional transit connection for the south-central part of San Francisco. 

While a continuation of the line had been studied as early as the 1920s, the line was not completed until the 1990s. The J-Church light rail line extension was constructed along San Jose Avenue through the “Bernal Cut,” a pathway built by the San Francisco & San Jose Railroad in 1863 to run trains in between the slopes of Bernal Heights and Glen Park. Today, the J-Church Muni Metro light rail line continues to provide a vital transit service. 
I visited the J-Church transit route on Sunday 13 August to take some photographs of the streetcar line on its one-hundredth anniversary.

Click on an image to see the full-size photograph.
THEN: Here is an outbound J-Church streetcar on Church Street at Seventeenth Street. The picture was taken in 1934, and the view is looking south. That is a San Francisco Fire Department fire engine adjacent to the streetcar.
NOW: This is the same location eighty-three years later; the two buildings visible in the 1934 photograph are still standing.
THEN: This picture was taken in 1940. The location is at Church Street at Thirtieth Street. At that time this site was the southern terminus of the J-Church line. You can see six or seven streetcars queued up to traverse the route.
NOW: This is the same location seventy-seven years later. In 1991 the J-Church light rail line was extended to the Balboa Park BART station.
This view is looking north from the summit of Church Street. 


This is where the J-Church route enters the northern side of the Church Street bypass. The bypass removes the need to ascend to, and descend from, the summit of Church Street. The view is looking southeast. 


Here is an outgoing J-Church Muni Metro light rail streetcar exiting the southern section of the Church Street bypass and re-entering Church Street. The view is looking northeast. 

This is a view of the recently updated Helen Diller Playground area of Mission Dolores Park. The view is looking southeast.
An inbound J-Church Muni Metro light rail streetcar heading north on Church Street.
This is the intersection of Church Street and Twenty-sixth Street. The view is looking northeast.
Here is a view of Twenty-fourth Street as seen from Church Street. Twin Peaks is visible in the background. Twenty-fourth Street is the main shopping area in Noe Valley. The view is looking west.
This is an outbound two-car J-Church Muni Metro light rail streetcar. The view is looking south, and the location is Church Street at Twenty-seventh Street. 
This apartment building is located at the intersection of Twenty-eighth Street and Church Street. The view is looking northeast.
This is St. Paul's Catholic Church. It is located on Church Street at Valley Street. The view is looking southwest. The church building was dedicated on 29 May 1911.
This was the original location of the southern terminus of the J-Church streetcar line. In 1991 the line was extended to the Balboa Park BART station. This location is at Church and Thirtieth Street; the view is looking west.
This house is located on Whitney Street. The view is looking west.
This apartment building is at the southeast corner of Seventieth Street and Church Street. The view is looking southwest.
This is a view of an inbound J-Church Muni Metro light rail streetcar. It is at the southeast corner of Twenty-fifth Street and Church Street.
NOW  This is a view of the building located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Church Street and Twenty-fourth Street.

THEN  The building was at the center of the Noe Valley business district when this picture was taken in 1878. The picture is courtesy of the Noe Valley Archives.

Go Here to view: The Market Street Railway streetcar excursion: 27 August 2017

Go Here to view: Market Street Heritage Weekend: 9 & 10 September 2017


“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” Dorothea Lang 

The first volume of the San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs that were posted on the Internet between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view those photo galleries.

Thanks to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Jeremy Menzies for providing information about the history of the J-Church streetcar line.

A Sony camera was used to take these photographs.

Question or comment? I may be reached at neil@mishalov.com