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Goodnight, 26 Valencia

December 4, 2009

Of all the Muni schedule changes, the 26-Valencia affects me the most. It’s pretty much the only bus I take, and with its departure I probably won’t ride Muni at all. It looks like BART wins out.

Muni Diaries has a two-part eulogy on the 26. A consistent theme seems to be a pleasant ride that didn’t come often enough. I frankly cannot see how the 14 and 49 will pick up the slack — in fact I predict a veritable clusterfuck — and I am hoping that its absence will lead to a phoenix-like twentysixsurrection.

Anyway, I wanted to provide some historical context — the 26-Valencia was was once the 26-Guerrero streetcar:

(scan via

It ran along Mission-14th-Guerrero-30th-Chenery-Diamond-San Jose:

(scan via Octoferret)

Here’s a description of the 26 Guerrero from a 1914 tour guide:

Via, click for 14MB PDF

via, click for 14MB PDF

Here are the 26 Guerrero streetcar lines on Guerrero and 28th, via SFPL:

26 Guerrero tracks @ 28th St

Guerrero-26 streetcar tracks at 28th

Spots Unknown has pictures of the 26 Guerrero streetcars.

My last 26:

I’m hoping this leads to something better. Maybe the city gets wise and turns Valencia into a bicycle and light-rail corridor, and perhaps the ripping up of Cesar Chavez to replace the sewer main gives us an opportunity for BRT down CC to the 22nd St Caltrain station (or even light rail between the J at 30th, Caltrain and the T-Third…)

But regardless, I think we’ll see it again.  I was speaking to the driver and we agreed: you just don’t fuck with the 26-Valencia.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 4, 2009 5:48 pm

    Lovely. Thanks.

  2. December 4, 2009 6:27 pm

    I always thought the directions to Mission Dolores in that tour guide were really bizarre. Would anyone really transfer to the 22 just to go two blocks on Church instead of walking it?

  3. December 4, 2009 7:08 pm

    Amazing stuff. Thanks for putting this together.

  4. Jeff permalink
    December 5, 2009 4:09 pm

    Great post, goodbye 26. It reminded me of riding the bus in Copenhagen. Lots of grandmas and you saw tons of bikes go by when you were on it.

    Anyone know of a source of single bus line maps like the Octoferret scan above? I’d be interested in ones that show the new sf routes, each route all by itself.

  5. December 6, 2009 1:55 pm

    That map of single bus lines also appears on page 98 of The White Front Cars of San Francisco by Charles Smallwood. I don’t know about more recent versions, though.

  6. December 7, 2009 12:31 am

    Here’s a recent version of just the 27 route:

    Click to access 27.pdf

    That one and the 44 are my favorites (just speaking here in terms of how the lines and angles look on paper/pdf):

    Click to access 44.pdf

    You should be able to see more by replacing the numbers with a letter like F or other number of your choice.

  7. Mission Manatee permalink
    December 9, 2009 11:31 pm

    Nice. I’d read that a version of the 26 line dated back to the late 1800’s (!), but it’s cool to see the old route maps.

    That said, even though I live less than two blocks from Army/Cesar Chavez & Valencia, and too frequently have to take the 14 and 49, I seldom used the 26 – it just ran so very infrequently. So very much less skanky and crazy-/junior hoodlum-filled than the 14 or the 49, though. I could never understand why more people didn’t walk the one entire block over to be on a more pleasant, less jam-packed bus.


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