One of America’s most famous streets may soon have its own toll

  • San Francisco’s Lombard Street and its twisty path have become a tourist destination.
  • But its popularity causes lots of local street congestion as drivers wait their turn to cruise down.
  • That’s prompting proposals that could entail reservations and fees to make the drive down Lombard.

Motorists looking to zigzag down San Francisco’s famed Lombard Street may soon have to pay for the experience. Legislation being proposed Monday in the California state legislature seeks to control the congestion that comes with an estimated 2 million tourists a year who attempt to drive down the crooked residential street. The attraction at times creates bumper-to-bumper traffic backed up as much as three blocks.

City officials have been eyeing a toll and reservation system for that part of Lombard for several months, and the San Francisco Transportation Authority has come up with two proposals: One would require a reservation to cruise down the hill at $5 a pop at all times. The second would have the booking and toll system running from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and cost $5 on weekdays, and $10 on weekends and holidays.

Still, San Francisco can’t set up a system for charging people who access a public road without first getting approval from the state. So that prompted Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, to sponsor legislation.

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“We’re not being prescriptive. How it needs to be done or when it needs to be done or even if it needs to be done is up to San Francisco,” Ting told the San Francisco Chronicle. “This is just giving San Francisco control of its city streets.”

The bill being introduced is modeled after a requirement adopted in early 2018 by the National Park Service to reduce vehicle traffic and overcrowding at Muir Woods National Monument. Parking reservations at the park now cost $8.

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