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Teeming with a strong electric current, San Francisco’s streets are covered by electric  wires, which power a fleet of zero emission MUNI trolleybuses.

When I first moved to the Bay  in 2009, I was very bothered by these “ugly wires” and considered them a blight on my photography.

Dozens of zero emission trolleybuses parked at the MUNI Depot on 17th and Bryant
Dozens of zero emission trolleybuses parked at the MUNI Depot on 17th and Bryant

Now What do I Think?

In the years since, I have come to love the wires as a part of the San Francisco charm and almost think that they add something to the flavor of this electric city.

Many different MUNI power cables connect at one point
Many different MUNI power cables connect at one point

The Mission Bus Depot

One of my favorite places to see these buses and cables is at the trolleybus depot located at 17th Street and Bryant Avenue in the Mission. I have driven by there countless times: always wanting to stop and take photos.

A panorama of the MUNI Depot on 17th and Bryant in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood
A panorama of the MUNI Depot on 17th and Bryant in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood

I must have driven or walked past the bus depot dozens of times before finally stopping to take photos of it after renting a Nikon D700 from Calumet Photo to document the Outside Lands music festival.

MUNI Power Cables and San Francisco Sky
MUNI Power Cables and San Francisco Sky

I was thrilled to find that there was a MUNI parking lot just above the bus depot that I was able to get on top of for great aerial views of everything.

A full frame fisheye shot of the parking lot above the MUNI depot on 17th and Bryant in San Francisco
A full frame fisheye shot of the parking lot above the MUNI depot on 17th and Bryant in San Francisco

While I probably took more than 100 photographs on that warm August day in San Francisco, these are by far my favorites.

14 Mission MUNI Bus in the 17th and Bryant depot
14 Mission MUNI Bus in the 17th and Bryant depot

. . .

My question for the comments…how do you think the MUNI cables affect the overall look of San Francisco’s streets and skyline?

Share the Journey

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  • http://www.universalexports.net Jimmy

    I have always been intrigued buy the use of “zero emission vehicle” when the electricity to power them in most cases creates quite a bit of emissions when being produced else wear.
    Just something that always bugged me, kinda like people think these hybrid cars are so eco-friendly, when in fact, the making of the batteries for them pollutes from Canada all the way to Japan quite badly.

    As for the topic at hand, I do not care for the overhead wires. Not only are they not very pleasant to look at, the electromagnetic fields that they produce are not good for ya either. I prefer the live rail type of trolleys.

    • http://www.AdventuresofaGoodMan.com Greg Goodman

      Thanks for a great comment, Jimmy! I guess it comes down to the “bad air blowing in your face walking down the street or bad air in general in the atmosphere.” I will say this about the wires, they have def grown on me in the last 2 years here in SF.