San Francisco Celebrates a 100-Year Legacy of People-Oriented, Sustainable Transportation
4/5/12—Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all transportation in the City, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), joined U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the SFMTA Centennial Honorary Committee, to launch the 100th anniversary celebration of the Municipal Railway, founded on December 28, 1912.
As the first publicly-owned transit system in a major U.S. city, Muni was inaugurated by Mayor James Rolph, Jr. at Geary and Kearny streets with Car No. 1. That streetcar has been restored and will now join Muni’s historic streetcar fleet which runs on the F Market and Wharves Line. The Citywide celebration through December will include San Francisco’s transit history and the City’s current integrated surface transportation network that encompasses pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, parking, traffic and taxis.
“Even one hundred years ago, San Francisco was the ‘Innovation Capital of the World’, when the City used mining technology and applied it to transit, a true innovation at the time that resulted in our modern Muni system that we still have today,” said Mayor Lee. “Just as our San Francisco innovators did a century ago, we are meeting the challenge of providing a world class transportation system for our residents with dedication and innovation.”
“Each year Muni provides service to more than 200 million customers with 700,000 daily boardings,” said Senator Feinstein. “I am especially proud of our City’s unique vintage streetcars—an international symbol of San Francisco culture. In fact, I was pleased to pilot Car No. 1 right down Market Street to open the first San Francisco Historic Trolley Festival in 1983. Happy 100th birthday to Muni for serving San Franciscans every day.”
The SFMTA also launched today a special section of its website at sfmta.com/100 to share photographic archive images, historic information and a calendar of events at which the SFMTA centennial will be featured. These events include Sunday Streets, community parades and events throughout San Francisco and larger Citywide events like the 42nd Annual San Francisco Pride Parade. Additional events include a joint anniversary celebration with the Port of San Francisco and in collaboration with the Market Street Railway (MSR), the SFMTA’s non-profit partner, a revival of the popular trolley festivals. All community events will feature information about Muni’s world-renown transit history, including photography exhibits from Muni’s history archive of nearly 30,000 images dating back to the 19th century.
The photographic archive is also featured on sfmta.com/100 with links to the “Treasures from the Muni Archive” celebrating Muni’s first 100 years, which is installed on Muni transit shelters along Market Street, at the MSR Museum and on Historypin.com, a project of the London-based non-profit We Are What We Do. With the help of Historypin, the SFMTA can share a tour of site-specific images. Shelter displays have a QR code that allows viewers to access a summary of the exhibit and a link to the free Historypin.com app. The SFMTA’s Archive page on Historypin.com is also available on interactive monitors at the MSR Museum.
At today’s celebration Mayor Lee and Senator Feinstein unveiled the centennial logo, designed by the SFMTA’s award-winning graphic designer. The centennial logo depicts both Muni’s Car No. 1 as well as the original O’Shaughnessy Muni logo.
“Over the course of the last 100 years, Muni’s diverse workforce has worn the O’Shaughnessy logo with pride and reflected the melting pot of cultures that make up our great city,” said SFMTA Board of Directors Chairman Tom Nolan. “Today, all SFMTA employees continue to serve San Francisco with pride as they work each day to contribute to the vitality and vibrancy of this city.”
“Since its founding 100 years ago, Muni has grown up with the city and become an integral part of it,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “Since Muni’s inception, San Franciscans have taken pride in and ownership of their transit system. Looking forward to the next 100 years, through such efforts as the Transit Effectiveness Project, we continue to see the city’s residents guide the City’s transit future.”
As the first major, publicly-owned transit agency in the U.S., Muni has grown to provide transit service to more than 200 million customers per year in one of the densest, most compact cities in the nation. Coverage per capita is among the highest in the U.S. with 63 bus routes, six light rail lines, the historic F Line and three cable car lines. Of the 700,000 daily boardings on Muni, more than 80 percent are City residents.
San Franciscans have, since Muni’s inception, been at the forefront of improving and preserving transit in San Francisco. The increasing monopolistic nature of the private streetcar companies at the turn of the last century so angered the public that voters approved bond measures to create a municipal streetcar line. On December 28, 1912, the San Francisco Municipal Railway inaugurated streetcar service on the A and B lines on Geary Street between downtown and 33rd Avenue.
When, in 1947, Mayor Roger Lapham attempted to close down the cable car system, City hero Friedel Klussman rallied the new Citizen’s Committee to Save the Cable Cars whose efforts led to Proposition E, resulting in the saving of the cable cars as the current system we know today. In 1964, the cable car system was declared a National Historic Landmark.
In the 1970s and 80s, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors and voters established that “transit-first is, has been, and continues to be the policy of the City and County of San Francisco.” The Transit First policy was embedded in the City Charter where it remains today.
San Francisco long been in the vanguard of alternative fuels and recycling while aggressively promoting sustainable modes—transit, bicycling and walking. It has routinely enacted policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and furthering the City’s Climate Action Plan. The SFMTA’s initiatives focus on the environment to create a sustainable quality of life for current and future generations of residents and visitors.
The SFMTA Centennial website sfmta.com/100 will continue to have updated event information throughout the year. Those interested are invited to please check back for updates and to learn more about our City’s past.