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Streetcar spurred development of an SF neighborhood 100 years ago

From an article by Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, San Francisco Examiner, April 10, 2019

“One century ago, San Francisco’s West Side resembled photos of the Sahara desert: Sand dunes stretched far into the horizon.

“Then came Muni’s L-Taraval line, and everything changed.

L Line Streetcar 170 and White Brand Motor Coach Possibly From 2 Ocean Bus Line at 48th Avenue and Taraval Street, May 15, 1925 (Courtesy SFMTA Photo Archive)

“Today the Sunset District and Parkside neighborhoods are home to roughly 70,000 people, according to city data. The seed of that development is one little streetcar route that connected downtown to the dunes, said Rick Laubscher, president of the Market Street Railway nonprofit and museum.

“ ‘It really did build out the Parkside and Sunset,’ Laubscher said. ‘None of this would exist without the streetcars.’

“On Friday, April 12, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency celebrated the centennial of the L-Taraval. That’s 100 birthday candles for the route that now runs from the Embarcadero to the San Francisco Zoo. Now trains called ‘light rail vehicles’ run along the line where their precursors, streetcars, used to roam.

“ ‘What made the L special,’ Laubscher said, ‘was that The City as a matter of policy wanted to use investment in transit to develop what was an open part of San Francisco.’ [It first operated] ‘as a shuttle.’ It wasn’t until October 15, 1923, that the line began running all the way ‘to the ferries,’ Laubchscer said.”

This is an excerpt. Read the full article here.

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