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Here's What Market Street Looked Like Before Cars Took Over





Streetscape planning has a way of getting political, turning any bulbout or bit of landscaping into a potential point of contention between sometimes-warring factions of cyclists, pedestrians, and cars. It's easy to forget that jaywalking was a foreign concept in the streets of the 19th and early 20th centuries, when pedestrians mingled with buggies and pushcarts and kids at play. It wasn't until the widespread adoption of the automobile that people thought to invent the crosswalk and automakers began pushing to redefine who exactly belongs on the road. In a roundup of then-and-now snaps of city streets before and after cars, our sister site Vox picked out this view of Market Street from April 1906. Look, no crosswalk!
The screenshot came from this reel filmed by the Miles brothers on April 14, 1906, just four days before the earthquake and fire. It quite nicely captures the hubbub of a Market Street populated by buggies, the new horseless carriages, and random souls running into the street willy-nilly.

· Fun with Urban Planning [Curbed SF]
· Turf Wars [Curbed SF]
· Then and Now: See How Cars Conquered the American Street [Vox]
· A Trip Down Market Street, 1906 [YouTube]