Bion J. (Bion Joseph) Arnold.

Report on the improvement and development of the transportation facilities of San Francisco online

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Results of vehicle traffic count at Fourth and Market Streets, showing
graphically the volume and complexity of traffic flow at a typical congested
center; also the necessity of efficient traffic regulation. Market Street traffic
clearly should have preference over transverse traffic. While vehicle traffic
at this time was maximum, car traffic is 50% higher during rush hours.



Methods of Operation
Development of Four-track Operating Plan

The peculiar street layout of San Francisco, bv which all of the West-
ern Addition streets branch from Market Street, and the absence of any
parallel thoroughfares to the north, naturally result in extreme congestion
of the one important artery. Furthermore, the present methods of car
operation cannot provide maximum capacity with minimum congestion.
In this chapter, traffic conditions are analyzed and various methods for
relief are recommended in detail, covering that portion of lower Marffei
Street from McAllister Street to The Embarcadero. Chapter 13 de-
velops the necessities of the Ferry terminals and their reconstruction and

In perfecting plans for the relief of lower Market Street, dis-
tinctly shown to be so necessary in the preceding study of the
downtown district, consideration has been given herein to the fol-
lowing subjects: Traffic regulation; car and passenger distribu-
tion ; location and sources of transit delays ; street capacity ; loading
speed ; physical obstructions ; intersecting lines ; arrangement of
tracks ; safety stations ; assignment of stops, present, proposed and
alternative; shelters.

From the above, it will be observed that this report relates to
the physical conditions and the operative problems only, and has no
bearing whatever upon any question of franchises or litigation in-
volving the outer tracks in lower Market Street.


1. Encourage and extend the work of the traffic force.

2. Reserve, for heavy vehicle traffic, one street through the Mis-
sion parallel to Market Street, and one or more crossing Market
Street through the wholesale district.

3. Right-of-way should be determined by relative amount of
pedestrian and car traffic at important intersections.

4. Reduce car traffic crossing Market Street throat during rush
hours to a minimum, e. g., at First Street.

•Formerly Preliminary Report No. 6, submitted Oct. 30, 1912.


5. Average loading speed of cars must be increased.

6. Use both ends of the cars at the Ferry for loading at least
during periods of maximum travel.

7. Rearrange safety stations with seats elsewhere than opposite
entrances and exits.

8. Extend stations to accommodate two cars at designated
points of heavy travel.

9. At the heaviest traffic points — Third Street and Fourth
Street — two cars should berth and cross together, tandem fashion.

10. EstabHsh only "near side" stops on electric lines within th;
business district.

11. Distribute stops as uniformly as possible to permit rapid

12. Eliminate as many unnecessary or special stops as may be
consistent with the varying local demands of passenger travel.

13. Out-bound stations are more necessary than in-bound; the
latter are only required within districts where Ferry travel originates.

14. Avoid out-bound and in-bound stations located in opposite

15. Designate all stopping points definitely by fixed signs.

16. No considerable increase in the use of the inner tracks on
Market Street can be recommended under present conditions and

17. Use of outer tracks should be limited to preserve the proper
ratio of car traffic on inner and outer tracks. Minimum headway
45 seconds.

18. Four-track plan A, best suited to immediate needs, is recom-

19. Establish definite rules for stops with regard to cars passing
on parallel tracks.

20. Commence proceedings for the recession of the protruding
corner of Sacramento and East Streets.

21. Water-front terminal will require modification to better ful-
fill the fluctuating demands of ferry traffic.


Traffic Regulation. The plans which the Police Depart-
ment put into effect throughout the congested district under the
supervision of the traffic force, I consider to be most important,
and should be heartily encouraged by all your citizens as one effec-
tive means of reducing the traffic congestion on lower Market
Street. The appended diagram. Figure 27, representing graphi-


cally the present conditions at a typical congested intersection —
Fourth and Market Streets — will give an idea of the complexity of
vehicle routing, with which street transportation companies have to
contend. This will also illustrate the necessity for the institution of
the traffic signal at such intersections, in order to permit the most
rapid interchange of vehicles by selective routing. I understand
that the installation of the selective signal will be extended to all
the more congested intersections along Market and Mission
Streets, and to other important intersections, such as Kearny and
Sutter Streets, and I believe that such a system will result in maxi-
mum benefit, as has been proved in other large cities.

I am informed that before the traffic force was organized,
there were approximately 1,600 vehicles per hour observed crossing
at Fourth and Market Streets, and that fully 70 per cent of the
vehicles using Market Street were "empties," a great majority of
which were found upon this street not by reason of necessity but
purely by preference. As a result of the operations of the traffic
force, the number of vehicles intersecting at this location had been
reduced to less than 1,000 by actual coimt in the early part of 1912.
The appended diagram shows 984 vehicles, exclusive of street cars.
Fortunately this vehicle traffic is somewhat less during the evening
rush hours than during midday, so that the increase in car traffic
is a little less serious than if vehicle traflfic also increased propor-
tionately thereto. ,

On account of the unavoidable necessity of utilizing Market and
Mission Streets primarily for passenger travel, it will be desirable
for you to reserve as far as possible for vehicle traffic one street
parallel thereto. Howard Street is the natural choice, and I am
pleased to confirm the selection of this street by your traffic force
for this purpose. By the general use of Howard Street as the main
trucking thoroughfare from The Embarcadero to the business cen-
ter, traflfic conditions will be improved, as soon as the construc-
tion work being carried on upon this street is completed. The
perfection of the work of the traffic force should be encouraged in
every possible way by both pedestrians and teamsters.*

Similarly, Battery-First Streets and Front-Fremont Streets
should be reserved as far as possible as trucking thoroughfares, in
order to relieve Montgomery Street, which is extremely narrow, and
Kearny-Third Streets, which are indispensable for passenger and
car traffic.

The Embarcadero should be improved and maintained in the best
possible condition so as to encourage its use for the heavier truck-
ing. And in this connection, the recent action of your Board in tak-

•This reservation of Howard Street is only necessary as far as the business center;
beyond Fifth Street it is required for routine important car traffic.






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Graphical study of car delay showing where the congestion occurs along
Market Street, as indicated by the slowing of the schedule. Note the hump
between Sutter and McAllister Streets — minimum speed 3.2 miles per hour.
This represents average results from 160 cars counted during a typical evening
rush hour.


ing steps to open Berry Street deserves commendation as a means
of facilitating this plan of diverting all unnecessary vehicle traffic
from the congested intersections along Market and Mission Streets.

Car Distribution. The location of centers of congestion
can be shown very accurately by observation under heavy traffic.
Typical conditions now existing during the evening rush hour along
Market Street are represented by the appended diagram, Figure 28,
and the following data obtained therefrom by averaging the running
time of 160 cars out-bound from the Ferry between 4:30 and
6:00 p. m. These conditions were perhaps slightly aggravated by
the construction work in progress on Howard, Second, and Market
Streets ; but, nevertheless, they are liable to occur at any time when
congestion is not promptly controlled.

_^ . Total Speed, Cars Dis-

Outbound Run Time Running Miles on tance

Interval Time Per Hr. Street Feet

Ferry to Sansome (Sutter) 5'59" 5'S9" 5.7 17 2660

Sansome to Kearny (Third) 4'20" 10'19" 3.2 12 1210

Kearny to Stockton (Fourth) 3'11" 13'30" 4.3 S 1210

Stockton to McAllister (Sixth) 3'41" 17'10" 6.4 8 2080

McAllister to Haight (Valencia) 4'29" 21'39" 10.7 4220

Haight to Castro and Eighteenth 7'14" 28'S3" 94 6010

Total 17390

■Average speed, Ferry to Eighteenth Street, 6.86 miles per hour.

In the most congested run, from Sansome to Kearny Streets,
there was an average car spacing of about 100 feet, or only about
twice the length of a standard car. The crux of the problem is
to be found at Lotta's Fountain — ^Third, Kearny and Geary Streets
— where both Market Street tracks are crossed by the Third and
Kearny lines. Here the delays occasioned by crossings are ag-
gravated to the maximum degree by reason of the concentration of
passengers within so limited an area, especially during the evening
rush hour. This has the effect of slowing the entire schedule for
some distance back. To a somewhat less degree the Fourth-Stock-
ton and Market Street crossing is also responsible for considerable
congestion, and it appears that the capacity of Market Street is
practically dependent upon and determined by the condition of these
two congested crossings. It will be observed that the out-bound
tracks are comparatively clear as far as Sansome Street, which is ex-
tremely fortunate, in view of the proposed extension of the Sut-
ter Street service to the Ferry, thus relieving also the proposed
Geary Street extension to the Ferry.

Car Capacity. The carrying capacity of the Market Street
throat has been determined by numerous observations made at


Market and Powell Streets. These counts indicate that on the aver-
age about 127 cars pass out of the Market Street throat per hour,
which corresponds to about 28 seconds average headway. From
computations made upon standard equipment of the same type un-
der efficient operating conditions, I believe this headway is very
close to the minimum that ought to be considered for the inner
Market Street tracks, for the reason that the several short-haul
lines that use Market Street have little or no opportunity to recover
by fast running outside of the business district, and the beneficial
results from traffic regulation and other improvements hereafter con-
templated ought to be reserved for the improvement of the present
running speed, which is extremely low. This standard equipment
is capable of operating most efficiently at a minimum headway of
only about 22 seconds or thereabouts on a level unobstructed track,
assuming a 10-second loading stop every 440 feet. (Equivalent
to an average city block, or 12 stops per mile.) This headway,
equivalent to 163 cars per hour, represents about the maximum clear
capacity of the tracks.

The additional cars from the Geary and Sutter Street lines as
contemplated would increase the total outflow from the Market
Street throat at Sutter Street to about 192 cars per hour, assum-
ing a two-minute headway during rush hours on the Geary Street
line. In the present four-track plan, 63 per cent of the equipment
would have to be handled on the inner tracks, i. e., from Geary
Street to the Ferry there would be found 28 out-bound cars* on the
inner tracks and 13 on the outer tracks. Were the Sutter Street
cars to be operated on the inner tracks there would result 163 cars
per hour out-bound thereon during the rush hour. As this is about
the theoretical capacity of the equipment, it is obviously impossible
of consideration. Therefore, even under improved conditions an-
ticipated for the near future, I cannot recommend any considerable
increase of the use of the inner tracks by any more cars than at
present operated. And if running conditions cannot be greatly im-
proved now, the establishment of service on the outer tracks will
only increase rather than decrease the difficulties of operation. As a
result, it is entirely within the bounds of possibility that in the
near future it may be found necessary under four-track operation
to reduce the number of cars utilizing both the inner and the outer
tracks by diverting parts of some tributary routes to adjacent thor-
oughfares ; or else, this could be accomplished by turning backf a
certain proportion of the rush hour extra cars on all north-side lines
converging into Market Street, as is now done on the Turk and

*By actual count.

tDefinite recommendations for the proper handling of this rush hour short-haul traffic
will be found in Chapter 7 on Rerouting and Service Redistribution.



Eddy line during rush hours, this being done to remove from Mar-
ket Street the additional equipment operated solely for the handling
of the large volume of business traffic originating in the central
loading district. In any event, there should be no attempt to
equalize the traiBc on the inner and outer tracks. Owing to the
handicap to the inner tracks, the number of cars using the outer
tracks should be kept at a minimum and not exceed about 38 per
cent of the total cars using the Market Street throat. The necessity
for this balancing of traffic arises from the fact that heavier traffic
on the outer tracks will prevent access to the inner tracks and in
the end defeat the ultimate purpose of the entire four-track ar-

Figures 34 and 35 referred to later, indicate the relative volume
of car traffic resulting from the contemplated use of the outer
tracks by two proposed methods.

Passenger Distribution. The above observations on car con-
gestion are confirmed by studies of the distribution of out-bound
passengers along Market Street as determined by numerous obser-
vations. These show that the heaviest rate of loading per stop be-
gins at Second Street, increasing to a maximum at Third Street,
thence decreasing progressively. As the time of loading is practi-
cally proportional to the volume of passenger traffic, every possible
means of relief should be applied to this section of the Market
Street throat, as herein recommended.


Market Street Stations

Out-bound Average Car, Evening Rush Hour

Boarding Total

Station Only On and Off

Ferry loop 12 12

Drumm (California) 6 6

Battery-First (Bush) 8 8

Sansome ( Sutter) 8 10

Second Street 7 7

Montgomery (Post) 14 16

Kearny-Third ( Geary) 25 26

Grant (O'Farrell) 10 12

Stockton-Fourth (Ellis) 6 7

Emporium-Flood 6 7

Powell-Fifth {Eddy) 12 17

Mason (Turk) 4 S

Taylor-Sixth (Golden Gate) 4 S

Jones (McAllister) 2 2

Larkin-Ninth (Hayes) 3 5

Church-Fillmore (Fourteenth) 3 6

Note heavy loading at Kearny Street.


Sutter Street Stations

Out-bound Average Car, Evening Rush Hour

(Sutter-California, Sutter-Clement, Sutter- Jackson)

Boarding Alighting Total

Sansome 30 30

Montgomery 14 14

Kearny . : 28 28

Grant 9 1 10

Stockton 4 4

Powell 15 3 18

Mason 1 2 3

Taylor 1 }

Jones 1 1

Leavenworth 2 2

Hyde 2 1 3

Larkin ^ ^

Polk 8 10 18

Van Ness 1 J

Franklin 1 2 3

Gough 1 4 5

Octavia 5 5

Laguna ' '

Buchanan 4 .4

Webster 1 1

Fillmore 8 19 27

(Sutter-California, Sutter-Clement, only)

Divisadero 2 7 9

North Side Traffic Distribution. Similar observations of
riding habit on north-side lines converging into Market Street
further confirm the statement that there is no necessity for all of
the north-side cars which run into Market Street continuing to
the Ferry during rush hours. The above results from traffic counts
on Sutter Street will illustrate this point. These results show
that the heaviest rush hour loading originates west of Sansome
Street. This, taken in connection with the fact that Market Street
lines do not pick up their heavy outbound loads until Second
Street or Third Street is reached, proves that much of this north-
side traffic could be efficiently handled by short-haul "tripper"
extras looping back at the intersection with Market Street. This
applies equally to the Geary Street and Sutter Street lines, and it
will be found that such a plan will not only save car-miles for use
on that part of the line where needed, but will also automatically
relieve the congestion on lower Market Street.

Minimum Headway. Until further experience has been ac-
quired with the operation of this contemplated four-track plan, it
appears to me that the most feasible method of conserving the maxi-
mum usefulness of all the tracks on Market Street is to place a limit
on the number of cars that may be operated thereon. Consider-
ing the proper proportion of traffic between inner and outer tracks
as above discussed, I believe I can safely recommend that an aver-


age headway of less than 45 seconds should not be seriously con-
sidered for Ihe outer tracks — that is, 80 car-trips per hour — as com-
pared with the present headway of 28 seconds, or 127 car-trips
per hour, on the middle tracks. This applies to the present type
of motor car equipment and might very readily change if more
powerful motor cars were later put into operation. It is some-
what uncertain how many car-trips per hour will be required to
the Ferry via Geary Street especially in view of the possibility
of additional municipal lines desiring to use the Geary Street
and outer tracks. But, as the general theory upon which these'
outer tracks are used is that of equal participation in mainte-
nance and receipts, I should consider it reasonable that the Munici-
pal and the United Railroads lines, respectively, should be permitted
to share equally — that is, up to a headway of 90 seconds, or 40 car-
trips per hour.

Obviously, as far as the Market Street traffic conditions are
concerned, it is immaterial what routes contribute to this total utili-
zation of the outer tracks, but it is important that the respective
operating departments of the' tributary systems should co-operate
in harmonizing their schedules, in order to secure the maximum
resulting service for the patrons from the Western Addition.
While short-haul routes may relieve Market Street on days of ex-
ceptional travel or during emergencies, it is quite likely that the
utmost use of both outer and inner tracks would be demanded, in
which event, the above-mentioned minimum headway of 45 seconds
could be somewhat reduced under proper authorization from the
City, but such permission should be contingent upon close co-
operation of the respective operating departments with regard to
schedules and the overlapping of authority of their street traf-
fic inspectors.

Loading Speed. Preliminary observations on a large num-
ber of cars indicate that the average speed of loading in seconds
per passenger is low, unfortunately, in San Francisco. This con-
dition can undoubtedly be remedied by certain improvements in
platform arrangements,! but nevertheless the results indicate that
every possible facility must be afforded that will increase the load-
ing speed, especially when large groups of passengers — 15 to 50 or
60— are to be loaded at one stop. This condition becomes most
serious at the Ferry loop terminal, referred to later, which will
require special treatment. Here, 10 passengers board the average
car during the morning hours, which is about twice as many as for
the average stop along Market Street.

tDiscussed in Chapter 9 on Improvements in Existing Rolling Stock.




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Showing relative time consumed per passenger for various types of cars,
including the newer Oakland cars with movable guide-rail. The average
group of passengers at the Ferry and on Market Street was determined by
actual observations. This clearly indicates the superiority of the Chicago
standard car design.


The extent of the handicap under which present equipment is
being operated may be judged from the fact that the largest San
Francisco cars, for groups of 10 passengers, require about 27.5
per cent more time per passenger to load than the latest type of
car operated in Oakland, where the radius rod is in use that per-
mits the full length of step to be used for entrance. Figure 29
indicates this relation graphically.

One immediate remedy for slow loading at all points of heavy
traffic is that both ends of prepayment cars be thrown open for
loading, with an extra conductor at the forward end vestibule to
receive and register fares. This method is now employed during
Sunday excursion traffic at the Ferry and at other heavy terminals,
and should be put into effect along Market Street.

Physical Obstructions. One very apparent cause of this
slow loading exists in the present arrangement of safety stations,

Online LibraryBion J. (Bion Joseph) ArnoldReport on the improvement and development of the transportation facilities of San Francisco → online text (page 14 of 52)