Vignette > Traffic Snarl

Alto Wye

From the time the city of San Francisco first reached metropolitan dimensions, people crossed the Bay exclusively by ferry.  It was a distinct and charming method for travel, but one with a limited future. The ferry system was designed for the pedestrian passenger and, in lesser proportion, the horse drawn carriage. The age of the automobile overloaded it to the point of collapse. Until 1931, the route on the Redwood Highway (now 101) from north Marin to the Sausalito ferry went through the Tam high campus, Tam Valley and Manzanita. The number of autos ferried across the Golden Gate annually increased dramatically from about a hundred thousand in 1919 to over two million in 1928. On the 1930 Labor Day weekend, the Sausalito to San Francisco ferry line experienced the worst traffic snarl in its history. Motorists had to queue up on Sunday. On Monday the situation boiled over when 9300 vehicles swarmed the ferry facilities. By 7:00 PM cars were backed up for seven miles. By putting fourteen boats on the route and running them four minutes apart, the ferry officials managed to send the last weary motorists across by 12:30 AM on Tuesday.