Scars of the past

Poking around Google Earth to optimize a hypothetical bicycle commute to the office, I noticed an unusual diagonal strip of alleys and divided lots running through San Francisco’s Mission District from about 22nd & Harrison to around Cesar Chavez & Guerrero:

Mystery line!

I figured it had to be an old rail right-of-way, but wasn’t sure what for. At first I thought it might be BART-related, since it runs right by the 24th & Mission station, but BART runs underground straight north-south to the 16th St & Mission station.

A little Googling on a portion of the strip cryptically labeled “Juri Cmns” turned up a page about the Juri Commons park which explained that the strip was originally part of the San Francisco and San Jose Rail Road. After the 1906 earthquake, the portions running through the Mission were torn up replaced with a line running nearer the bay — the same route today’s Caltrain operates on.

[Side note: I composed this post offline in Yojimbo's rich text editor and tried to copy-paste it to WordPress's WYSIWYG editor in Firefox. Total paste fail when including the picture; links stripped when pasting paragraphs only. Tried it again in Safari -- all links came through intact, just missing the image.]

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