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Friday, August 28, 2015

Streetcar Hit by Lyft Near the Wharf But Keeps On Chuggin'

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 5:38 PM

  • Photo by Amilcar Pereira

This Lyft car and this Muni F-Market streetcar need to reconsider their close, personal relationship. The two collided around 1 p.m. today, causing a delay on the historic F-Line. 

Muni crashes happen occasionally, but it's not every day we get a good look at them. And even worse than hitting one of the standard Muni buses, this Lyft Jeep collided with the grill of a historic F-line streetcar. 
Taxi drivers on the scene said the Lyft was making an illegal right turn, but a cursory look at Google Street View doesn't show any "No Right Turn" signs. But it does appear to be making a right turn from the middle lane – a big "no no."

Also, as Twitter user @BluTarp pointed out, "In the driver's defense, who could have seen that huge yellow streetcar, or predicted its direction of travel?"

The smash-em-up caused delays on the F-line for half an hour, according to subsequent tweets from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni. 

But the real danger was damage to a piece of moving history. 

This streetcar is No. 1057, and was painted to honor Cincinnati, according to the Market Street Railway Museum. It was originally built in 1948 — a classic. 

Per the museum's blog
The uniqueness of Cincinnati’s PCCs (Ed's Note: Presidential Conference Committee, a type of streetcar) extended to the paint scheme, an eye-popping canary yellow with three bold green stripes around the body. Only PCCs got this treatment in Cincinnati–buses and older streetcars were painted a prosaic transit orange.
So it's not only historic, but unique as well. The SFMTA did save money by purchasing the streetcars and restoring them (instead of building new streetcars). But the process wasn't cheap, according to Market Street Railway:
The SFMTA Board of Directors has approved an $18 million contract to restore 16 additional PCC streetcars.
We reached out to SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose about how badly the streetcar was damaged, and he was optimistic.

"Minimal damage to streetcar," he said. "They are strong."

Still, it was a close call. Fortunately for Muni, and for streetcar-nerds, these things were built like tanks. 

  • Photo by Alexandre Barros

  • Photo by Alexandre Barros

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Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

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