Reflecting on 2023: Transit challenges, celebrations, a push for pedestrian safety

Jerold Chinn
2 min readDec 31, 2023
Photos from various events in San Francisco in 2023. | Photo by Jerold Chinn

First and foremost, thank you to all my readers and supporters. I have appreciated meeting many of you on Muni buses and trains, at rallies, meetings, or simply by chance on the street.

This year has indeed been marked by debates and discussions on funding public transit. In the first half of the year, transit riders were uncertain whether their transit agency would need to cut services. Transit advocates even organized a symbolic funeral for their beloved transit systems, complete with makeshift coffins representing AC Transit, BART, Muni, and Caltrain.

A few notable celebrations occurred this year. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officially marked the opening of the long-awaited Central Subway (a soft opening took place in November of last year). Regardless of individual opinions on the project, such as concerns about being over budget, low ridership, or a waste of money, the subway opened in January amidst fanfare from transit geeks, city leaders, and the Chinatown community.

San Francisco’s cherished cable cars celebrated their 150th anniversary. Various events were held throughout the year to commemorate these iconic cable cars and the system that propels them through the city’s hills. The Main Library hosted a photo exhibit, and the SFMTA offered a $5 all-day pass for the California Cable Car line.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the tragic traffic deaths that occurred on the city’s streets this year, including the heartbreaking incident where a four-year-old girl was struck and killed by a vehicle while her parents pushed her in a stroller within a crosswalk. The city’s goal of eliminating traffic deaths by next year is unattainable. Advocates have urged the SFMTA to expedite the implementation of safety measures and be held accountable. In the coming year, the SFMTA will focus on its speed safety cameras program, following the approval of a bill by state lawmakers this year allowing the city to pilot the use of such cameras.

What lies ahead for the SFMTA’s budget next year? Will the center-running Valencia bikeway pilot project persist? How do the city’s elected leaders and candidates on the 2024 ballot intend to support transit and enhance street safety for those walking and biking?

Answers to these questions and more will unfold in 2024. For now, I wish you all a happy and healthy 2024!

I look forward to seeing you at the next SFMTA board meeting.



Jerold Chinn

I am a freelance reporter in San Francisco with over a decade of experience covering transportation in the city. Bylines include SFBay and The Ingleside Light.