San Francisco Crooked Street

Tourists may soon have to pay a fee to drive down San Francisco’s world-famous crooked street. California officials announced a proposal Monday that would grant San Francisco permission to establish a toll and reservation system.

SAN FRANCISCO — Thousands of tourists could soon have to pay as much as $10 to drive down world-famous Lombard Street in San Francisco.

City and state officials on Monday announced a bill that would give San Francisco the authority to establish a toll and reservation system for the street that winds down a steep hill, in an effort to reduce crowds and traffic congestion.

“We must implement a system that enables both residents and visitors to enjoy the ‘Crookedest Street in the World,’” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who authored the legislation.

Residents say the scenic thoroughfare feels more like an overcrowded amusement park than a neighborhood street. They have been calling for years for officials to address the traffic jams, trash and trespassing by visitors.

In the summer months, an estimated 6,000 people a day visit the 600-foot-long street, creating lines of cars that stretch for blocks, clogging the Russian Hill neighborhood.

“The cars really impact the neighborhood because they line up, they back up, they are sitting idling,” said Greg Brundage, president of the Lombard Hill Improvement Association.

San Francisco transportation officials have proposed requiring visitors to make a reservation online and pay $5 for each vehicle. Another plan calls for online reservations and a $10 charge on weekends and holidays.

The city needs state approval to charge people to use a public road but it would be up to city officials to determine how and what to charge and how to use the funds. The new toll system is not expected to be in place before 2020, officials said.

Supervisor Catherine Stefani said the fee would help sustain the reservations system and help pay for more traffic control officers, more police patrols in the area and tourism ambassadors who would make sure visitors have a good experience.

Residents built the hairpin turns on the red brick road in 1922 because its 27-degree grade was too steep for the era’s cars to climb. Neighbors added lush gardens filled with hydrangeas and roses 30 years later.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.