A commenter on this Streetsblog article posted a link to a 1948 traffic planning map. While the main article was talking about Hayes Street and the fact that they’re trying to convert it back to bi-directional traffic, it’s important to take note our hood in that map, which would be the one with all the red streets on it–the streets that they decided to change over to one-way streets.
This is interesting to note in that the Tenderloin’s slip in to what it is today came at several points and wasn’t just an overnight event. The first was the leveling of the hood by the 1906 fire which put an end to Saint Anne’s Valley and all the family homes that were in the neighborhood. This in turn created the high-density apartments we have today that make it difficult for families to really live in the neighborhood as cramming three or four people in to a studio or one bedroom apartment isn’t the most amount of fun.
Then came this traffic plan. The “boulevardization” of the Tenderloin was unlike any other neighborhood in that, as you can plainly see, one-way streets were implemented not only from East to West, but also North to South. This has the effect of pretty much killing whatever neighborhood was left as it became a fly-by area for people from other neighborhoods to drive through. Then naturally, the last nail in the coffin came in the early 80’s when Mister Shaw and company started building up the homeless industry that is now housed here as a containment zone that people are still able to blaze past on all the one-way streets, occasionally killing those who dare to walk.
Things are of course changing and the fact that some streets look to be re-two-wayed can only make one hope that it will work to reverse the malformed auto-centric changes that got started some 60 years ago.