This year’s Transit Month in San Francisco made for a busy September, starting with a kick-off rally at City Hall, BART celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the big announcement about the anticipated opening of the Muni Central Subway.
Elected officials joined the annual ride along in early September, traveling to City Hall by Muni bus or train in the morning. Mayor London Breed hopped on the F-Market/Wharves historic streetcar at Castro and 17th streets, joining state Sen. Scott Wiener, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and top city transit official Jeffrey Tumlin for the ride.
Before the train could even move an inch, it was halted by protesters to bring attention to recent traffic fatalities on city streets, as well as San Francisco’s Vision Zero goal of achieving zero traffic fatalities by 2024.
The mayor eventually got to City Hall and joined supervisors, who rode Muni from their districts to City Hall. Funding was a major theme at this year’s rally, including passing Proposition L on the upcoming November ballot. The measure, if passed by two-thirds of voters, would continue the half-cent transportation sales tax in The City.
Mandelman, who chairs the San Francisco County Transportation Authority board, which administers the half-cent transportation sales tax, said he was excited as well as nervous about Prop. L:
“We all felt the heartbreak of a one percentage point loss in June around the Muni bond. We cannot repeat that experience.”
He added that it was important to pass Prop. L in order to have matching funds available in order to compete with other cities for federal grants.
BART also celebrated in a big way this month in celebration of its 50th anniversary. The transit system opened for revenue service on Sept. 11, 1972.
The transit agency celebrated its anniversary by giving passengers 50 percent off their fares for the entire month of September, bringing back old Atari games and a celebration near the Lake Merritt station.
At the event, they unearthed a time capsule that was buried in 1992 when BART was celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Some of the items Inside the capsule included a 20th anniversary BART t-shirt, dirt from the 1967 groundbreaking of the Market Street subway, and a VHS video tape that documented the 1991 BART extension.
The agency prepared a new time capsule that will not be opened until its 75th anniversary. Officials placed new items in the capsule including a BART 50th anniversary t-shirt, a BART pandemic mask and a BART Pride sticker.
Of course, there also was the major announcement from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency that its long-awaited Central Subway will finally open with truncated weekend service on Nov. 19. The SFMTA anticipates starting full seven-day revenue service in January 2023.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation, City Hall, and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.