Led by SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin and Director of Transit John Haley, the LRV procurement and bus replacement were carried out in a fraction of the time that previous fleet replacements took.
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The opening celebration saw San Francisco Mayor James Rolph, Jr.
board Car 1, place one of the first forty nickels ever minted in San Francisco into the farebox, put on his motorman’s cap, and personally pilot the first car out Geary.
The new city-owned streetcar line on Geary was a product of the Progressive Era, which called for ownership of public utilities by the public, not by private corporations who did it to make a profit.
“Muni”, as it soon came to be known by all San Franciscans, competed fiercely against private competitors until all transit routes were consolidated under city ownership mid-century.
My mom brought me downtown (on a streetcar, of course) to see this spectacle a few times, and I firmly came to believe that the Emporium Santa had to be the real Santa (as opposed to Macy’s Santa) because he arrived on a cable car. Based on the license plate of the car at right, it is somewhere between 19. The roof just looks like a cable car roof instead of the Beach Blanket Babylon hat we see above. This first block of Powell Street, between Market and Ellis, had its historic street lamps removed and replaced by ugly square modern lights as part of the Market Street rebuilding in the 1970s.
You can see that the procession contained more than just Santa. Trees were planted on both sides of the tracks that are now nearing the end of their useful life and thrust the whole block into shadow.
San Francisco cares about its history, remembers its past, and puts it to work! Not down the chimney on Christmas Eve, but weeks earlier, down Powell Street on a cable car.
Along with thousands of San Franciscans of a certain age, I (Rick Laubscher, Market Street Railway president) remember it well.
The Board’s strongest bicycle advocate, Cheryl Brinkman, is now the Board Chair. It happened on December 11, 1932 — one of the few snowfalls in the city proper that actually stuck to the ground, if only for a little while.