After months of work relocating utilities and sidewalk widening, repaving is about to begin on Castro Street. The extra space comes from narrowing traffic lanes so absurdly wide they could be two lanes, and often are with cars double parking.
Once upon a time there were two lanes in each direction…
Until the 1906 Earthquake and Fire the Castro Street Cable Car ran on Market Street from the Ferry Building to Castro Street where it made a left and travelled over the hill to 24th and Castro. With the cables and power-houses in ruin transit operators quickly put up overhead wire to run streetcars on the surviving track.
Streetcars and cable cars couldn’t make it over the hill to Noe Valley, so when cable car service was restored, it was only between 18th and 24th Streets. That’s where it met the 8-Market Streetcar line that continued the rest of the way down Market Street to the Ferry Building.
With streetcars laying over on one side of 18th and cable cars on the other, the wide lanes we nessacery if cars and trucks were to get around them.
The cable car was replaced in the early 1940s by the 24-Divisadero bus line while the 8-Market continued as a streetcar line, then a bus line, then a streetcar line when it was replaced by the F-Market. It’s only been a bit been over half a century since Castro Street actually needed those 21’ wide streets.