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The Bay Area’s Lost Streetcars

Where in fact the Streetcars Used to go

Where in fact the Key System Used to go

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, like many American cities, used to possess rail tracks lining the majority of its major streets. This map shows the routes the streetcars took and the rail lines which exist today.

Developed by Chris Arvin

Two transit systems operated in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA one, the SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA Municipal Railway, still exists today. It had been America’s first publicly-run transit system, created when voters approved it with a ballot measure in 1909. The Municipal Railway (or “Muni”) ran streetcar routes designated by letters A through N.

Another system, the privately run Market Street Railway, ran a large number of additional streetcar routes. In 1944, voters of SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA approved the town to get the private company and merge both systems. Soon after, an instant conversion of streetcars to buses occurred.

By 1956, only seven streetcar routes remained in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA: the J, K, L, M and N, plus two lines (B and C) that ran on Geary street. The Geary street routes were the final to be changed into bus during this time period. The rest of the streetcar routes weren’t in a position to be changed into bus because of the tunnels and cuts that were built designed for the routes.

These last holdout lines eventually became what’s today’s modern Muni Metro light rail system. It’s the country’s third-busiest light rail system, carring 173,500 passengers weekly.

The cities of San Francisco’s East Bay used to possess streetcars carrying passengers across their major streets. Rail lines brought passengers not merely through the entire East Bay, but into SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA via the Bay Bridge aswell. This map shows the routes they took, and where BART’s routes go today.

Developed by Chris Arvin

This rail system was operated by way of a private company called THE MAIN ELEMENT System. In 1946, THE MAIN ELEMENT System was acquired by National City Lines, a shell corporation developed by General Motors, Firestone Tires along with other automobile interests. Soon after, all local streetcar routes in the East Bay were changed into bus routes.

In 1958, the Bay Bridge routes of the main element System were changed into bus routes aswell. The tracks on the Bay Bridge were removed and paved to allow automobiles to utilize more lanes on the bridge. 2 yrs later, in 1960, AC Transit took control of the main element System’s services.


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