Proposed Toll for San Francisco’s Lombard Street Clears Senate Hurdle

4 hours ago

A key state Senate committee approved legislation on Wednesday that aims to reduce traffic on the tourist-choked, famously crooked section of San Francisco’s Lombard Street.

The bill from San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting, AB 1605, would implement a reservation system and fees for sightseers to drive down the popular tourist attraction.

The California Senate Governance and Finance Committee voted 4-1 to advance the bill to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Andrew Heidel, a senior transportation planner with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) told the Committee that Lombard Street attracts over 2 million visitors a year, but there’s no way to manage them.

Lombard Toll Clears Assembly

“Right now, if you visit the crooked street in a car on the busiest weekend, you’re waiting in line for over 45 minutes to go what is essentially three blocks through the line,” Heidel said.

The reservation system could reduce that wait time to less than 10 minutes, according to Heidel. The potential fee cost hasn’t been determined yet, and officials have said the new system would not be in place before 2020.

A 2017 study by the SFCTA said managing access to Lombard Street is needed as crowd control issues for the attraction have become more challenging.

The agency recommended a fee and reservation system, and is conducting another study to review technology and operation options for the system.

The legislation is necessary for a new system to be implemented because existing law prohibits a local agency from imposing any charge for the privilege of using its streets or highways.

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