I wish this documentary was available for streaming somewhere but if you're into this stuff it's an amazing documentary and I can highly recommend it.
It has some bonus materials as well including going around with a P.E. history buff as he points out some of these places.
1. The trains never made a profit past 1929 (the great depression). I'm not sure if they said why.
2. The train companies had made deals to maintain the roads. As cars got more popular that made maintenance too expensive and provided an incentive to switch to buses which would transfer maintenance of the roads to the city.
Of course I agree that it was shortsighted of the city to let the trains go. They probably should have run them themselves or made some new deals or something. Now they're paying billions to build new lines and they take forever to build. The purple line that goes down Wilshire is supposed to take until 2035! to be finished down to UCLA :(
There's also this, though: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_consp...
They wouldn't have very much use in a commuter transit scenario.
The first image: http://historicaerials.com:?layer=T1963&zoom=16&lat=34.09750... ... if you go to the compare drop-down, select slide, then do 2012, you can clearly see this.
One of my pasttimes is to compare different map sources/times for the same location.
I wrote a python2 tool that parses any URL like the one you gave, and outputs links to the geo location at many map providers:
See that giant diagonal from the top left to the bottom right that spans the length of the map?
I actually noticed this one day in Noe Valley. You would have a block of old houses (early 1900's) and then in the center of the block would be buildings built in the '50s or '60s. Why is that?
This is a nice zoomable map of SF from 1938 that shows why. There used to be an elevated set of train tracks that ran from 27th and Dolores down to San Jose and Randall. The rest of the tracks were at ground level.
The removed the tracks and filled in the gaps with new homes.
Edit: Found the answer myself. http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=Potrero_Commons_18th-Wisc...
Next stop Monte Vista!
Land ownership often reflects where railroad tracks were. When the tracks are removed, that doesn't mean that the land becomes part of the neighboring lots.
2901 22nd St San Francisco CA