If you want a rather eye-opening experience about the history of transit and traffic in San Francisco, then you should get yourself over to Eric Fisher’s Flickr account, and take a look at the wealth of historical documents he’s scanned in about proposals going back almost 100 years concerning proposals regarding Muni, BART, etc.
For example, here we see a proposed plan for a subway for Muni that would have traveled downtown, under the existing Sunset Tunnel, and outward towards the Inner Sunset , and end around 19th. Similar plans in the set include a subway station for SFSU, and an underground system for Geary Street. Geary was also supposed to be part of the BART system too, believe it or not.
Imagine if instead of riding an N Judah streetcar that has to fight traffic, double parked cars, and whatnot, taking a subway downtown instead. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
But that’s not all. Eric’s Flickr account also has freeway and bridge plans too! Imagine a huge freeway gouging the Inner Sunset, and feeding a freeway in Golden Gate Park. Crazy? Not really – plans were drawn up, and if completed would have meant my home would literally be next to an onramp.
I’ve always said that the history of transit planning and development in San Francisco and the Bay Area is a more accurate reflection of the political, social and economic climate of the times than people realize.
After reading up in history books and archives about our past, it’s clear we’re very good at coming up with great ideas, but then decide to go with the cheapest, short term plan possible, and leave the fallout for future generations to deal with, usually at great expense.
Anyway, check it out. It’s definitely very interesting!