“I want everyone to feel that it is but the nucleus of a mighty system of streetcar lines which will one day encompass the entire city.”

James Rolph

I went to the library this evening to check out a great book about the history of Muni. Unfortunately, it is out of print and is now reference material. I couldn’t take it with me.

I consumed the first 30 pages to the infrequent din of library staff repeatedly announcing imminent closing. 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes, five.

While reading, I found a moving quote by San Francisco’s longest serving mayor, James “Sunny Jim” Rolph. He spearheaded the initial development of Muni during the years immediately after the great 1906 earthquake and fire.

He attended the opening of the first City operated (Muni) line — what is now more or less served by the 38-Geary line.

It is in reality the people’s road, built by the people and with the people’s money. The first cable road in the country was built in San Francisco, and now the first Municipal railway of the country is built in San Francisco. Our operation of this road will be closely watched by the whole country. It must prove a success! We must run it by proper methods. When we have built from the Ferry to the Ocean, it will be the best single route in the city, and we must extend it wherever possible, until it becomes a great Municipal system. I want everyone to feel that it is but the nucleus of a mighty system of streetcar lines which will one day encompass the entire city.

What passion! What vision! Where is that passion now? What has our City become?

It is a sad time for transit in our City.

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2 Responses to “I want everyone to feel that it is but the nucleus of a mighty system of streetcar lines which will one day encompass the entire city.”

  1. Bob says:

    You are quite passionate about MUNI! How much time have you spent researching this stuff? I would agree with you on the bidding things from below. It’s the same as what we saw at IU and what you see in governments all across the US. Unfortunately, until people really begin to fight back to reduce tax burdens across the board and push for governmental reform, there isn’t going to be reason for government to change.

  2. kfarr says:

    Bob! Nice to see you in blog-land.

    Yes, I am quite passionate about Muni. I spend too much time researching it :), but I really enjoy transit. I think better transit holds the key to a higher quality of life in the United States.

    I also worry that until people begin to fight back against wasteful government spending we won’t see any real progress. But, it’s tough to get people riled up about abstract management and spending incompetence.

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