Template:Infobox City The City and County of San Francisco is the fourth most populous city in California and the fourteenth-most populous in the United States, with a 2006 estimated population of 744,041.[1] It is located on the tip of the San Francisco Peninsula and is the focal point of the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco is the second most densely populated major city[2] in the United States.[3]


The City and County of San Francisco is a consolidated city-county, a status it has had since 1856. It is the only such consolidation in California. The mayor is also the county executive and the county board of supervisors acts as the city council. Because of its unique status, it exercises jurisdiction over property that would otherwise be located outside of its corporation limit. San Francisco International Airport, though located in San Mateo County, is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco. San Francisco was also granted a perpetual leasehold over the Hetch Hetchy Valley and watershed in Yosemite National Park by the Raker Act in 1913.


Under the city charter, the government of San Francisco is constituted of two co-equal branches. The executive branch is headed by the mayor and includes other city-wide elected and appointed officials, and the civil service. The 11-member Board of Supervisors, the legislative branch, is headed by a President (Aaron Peskin, as of 2006) and is responsible for passing laws and budgets, though San Franciscans also make use of direct ballot initiatives to pass legislation. The members of the Board of Supervisors are elected as representatives of specific districts within the city.[4] If the mayor dies or resigns, the President of the Board of Supervisors assumes the office, as Dianne Feinstein did after the assassination of George Moscone in 1978. The municipal budget in 2006 was greater than $5 billion.[5]

The federal government utilizes San Francisco as the regional hub for many arms of the federal bureaucracy, including the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the United States Mint. Until decommissioning in the early 1990s, the city had three major military installations - the Presidio, Treasure Island, and Hunters Point - a legacy still reflected in the annual celebration of Fleet Week. The State of California uses San Francisco as the home of the state Supreme Court and other state agencies. Foreign governments have located in excess of thirty foreign consulates in San Francisco.[6]


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Roads and highwaysEdit

Because of its unique geography — making beltways somewhat impractical — and the results of the freeway revolts of the late 1950s, San Francisco is one of the few cities in the U.S. that has opted for European-style arterial thoroughfares instead of a large network of freeways. City residents continued this trend following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, choosing to demolish the Embarcadero Freeway and a portion of the Central Freeway and convert them into street-level boulevards.

Interstate 80 begins at the approach to the Bay Bridge and is the only direct automobile link to the East Bay. U.S. Route 101 extends Interstate 80 to the south along the San Francisco Bay toward Silicon Valley. Northbound, 101 uses arterial streets Van Ness Avenue and Lombard Street to the Golden Gate Bridge, the only direct road access from San Francisco to Marin County and points north. Highway 1 also enters San Francisco at the Golden Gate Bridge, but diverts away from 101, bisecting the west side of the city as the 19th Avenue arterial thoroughfare, and joining with Interstate 280 at the city's southern border. Interstate 280 continues this route along the central portion of the Peninsula south to San Jose. Northbound, 280 turns north and east and terminates in the South of Market area. Highway 35, which traverses the majority of the Peninsula along the ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains, enters the city from the south as Skyline Boulevard, following city streets until it terminates at its intersection with Highway 1. Major east-west thoroughfares include Geary Boulevard, the Lincoln Way/Fell Street corridor, and Market Street/Portola Drive.

Public transportationEdit

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Public transit solely within the city of San Francisco is provided predominantly by the San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni). The city-owned system operates both a combined light rail/subway system (the Muni Metro) and a bus network that includes both trolleybuses and standard diesel buses. The Metro streetcars run on surface streets in outlying neighborhoods but underground in the downtown area. Additionally, Muni runs the highly-visible F Market historic streetcar line, which runs on surface streets from Castro Street to Fisherman's Wharf, and the iconic San Francisco cable car system.

Commuter rail is provided by two complementary agencies. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is the regional rapid transit system which connects San Francisco with the East Bay through the Transbay Tube. The line runs under Market Street to Civic Center, where it turns south to the Missio District, the souther part of the city, and through northern San Mateo County, to the San Francisco International Airport, and Millbrae. The Caltrain rail system runs from San Francisco along the Peninsula down to San Jose. The line dates from 1863, and for many years was operated by Southern Pacific.

The Transbay Terminal serves as the terminus for long range bus service (such as Greyhound) and as a hub for regional bus systems AC Transit (to Alameda County), SamTrans (San Mateo County), and Golden Gate Transit (Marin and Sonoma Counties). Amtrak also runs a shuttle bus from San Francisco to its rail station in Emeryville.

A small fleet of commuter and tourist ferries operate from the Ferry Building and Pier 39 to points in Marin County, Oakland, and north to Vallejo in Solano County.


San Francisco International Airport (SFO), though located 13 miles (21 km) south of the city in San Mateo County, is under the jurisdiction of the City and County of San Francisco. It is a hub for United Airlines, its largest tenant,[7] and the decision by Virgin America to base its future operations out of SFO[8] reverses the trend of low-cost carriers opting to bypass SFO for Oakland and San Jose. SFO is an international gateway, with the largest international terminal in North America.[9] The airport is built on a landfill extension into the San Francisco Bay. During the economic boom of the late 1990s, when traffic saturation led to frequent delays, it became difficult to respond to calls to relieve the pressure by constructing an additional runway as that would have required additional landfill. Such calls subsided in the early 2000s as traffic declined, and, in 2005, SFO was the 14th busiest airport in the United States and 23rd largest in the world, handling 32.8 million passengers.[10]



The Port of San Francisco was once the largest and busiest seaport on the west coast. It featured rows of piers perpendicular to the shore, where cargo from the moored ships was handled by cranes and manual labor and transported to nearby warehouses. The port handled cargo to and from trans-Pacific and Atlantic destinations, and was the west coast center of the lumber trade. The 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike, an important episode in the history of the American labor movement, brought the port to a standstill. The advent of container shipping made pier-based ports obsolete and most commercial berths moved to the Port of Oakland.

Many piers remained derelict for years until the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway reopened the downtown waterfront, allowing for redevelopment. The centerpiece of the port, the Ferry Building, while still receiving commuter ferry traffic, has been restored and redeveloped as a gourmet marketplace. The port's other activities now focus on developing waterside assets to support recreation and tourism.

See also Edit

  1. Population Finder: San Francisco County, 2006. U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed May 4, 2007.
  2. Of cities greater than 200,000 population; New York City is the densest.
  3. "2000 Census: US Municipalities Over 50,000: Ranked by 2000 Population". Demographia. Retrieved on August 16 2006.  Information cited for cities greater than 200,000
  4. "Board of Supervisors District Information". City and County of San Francisco, Board of Supervisors. Retrieved on January 29 2006. 
  5. "A Guide to San Francisco's Budget Process, April, 2005" (PDF). City and County of San Francisco, Controller's Office. Retrieved on August 25 2006. 
  6. Search for consulates in San Francisco, CA, Accessed August 27, 2006.
  7. Young, Eric (April 2, 2004). "Pact keeps United from flying away". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved on August 28 2006. 
  8. Raine, George (December 9, 2005). "Taking to the air: Low-fare startup Virgin America says it has the funding to fly". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on August 28 2006. 
  9. Template:PDFlink San Francisco International Airport. (Largest in terms of square feet). Retrieved on August 22, 2006.
  10. Data Center: Passenger Traffic 2005 FINAL. Airports Council International. Retrieved on August 23, 2006.


  • De La Perouse, Jean Francois; Yamane, Linda Gonsalves; Margolin, Malcolm (1989). Life in a California Mission: Monterey in 1786: The Journals of Jean Francois De La Perouse. Heyday Books. ISBN 0-930588-39-8. 
  • Hansen, Gladys (1995). San Francisco Almanac: Everything you want to know about the city. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-0841-6. 
  • London, Jack (May 5, 1906). "The Story of an Eyewitness by Jack London". Collier's, The National Weekly. 
  • Richards, Rand (1991). Historic San Francisco: A Concise History and Guide. Heritage House. ISBN 1-879367-00-9. 
  • Ungaretti, Lorri (2005). San Francisco's Richmond District. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-3053-0. 
  • Wiley, Peter Booth (2000). National trust guide San Francisco: America’s guide for architecture and history travelers. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN 0-471-19120-5. 

External linksEdit

Template:Neighborhoods of San Francisco

Template:California Template:USLargestCities Coordinates: Template:Coor dm

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