Tourists May Soon Have to Pay to Drive Down San Francisco’s Most Famous Street
One of the world’s strangest streets draws millions of people to drive on it per year, but now the city is pushing back.
Lombard Street, one of most sought after tourist attractions in San Francisco, is a truly picturesque road for tourists to visit while they're in the city. Not only is the street lined with decorative foliage, but it also has the novelty factor of being the most crooked street in San Francisco.
But the biggest problem with Lombard Street is traffic. Naturally, like any other tourist attraction, the droves of people — about 6,000 per day, according to USA Today — flocking there to drive down the zigzagging street understandably causes a lot of gridlock (which is why we suggest to walk it rather than drive).
Now, city and state officials are proposing a new bill that would allow a tolling and reservation system on the busy street to cut back on crowds, according to USA Today.
The new bill would require all visitors to make a reservation between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. every day and register their vehicle for $5, according to CBS News. An alternative would impose a similar system, with a slight entrance fee change to $5 on weekdays and $10 on weekends. If enacted, the new policy would take hold as early as Jan. 1, 2020, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“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,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting to the San Francisco Chronicle. “This is just giving San Francisco control of its city streets.”
Imposing fees can certainly be a deterrent for some tourists and can help control overcrowding. Other cities around the world have begun to introduce fees to their most famous attractions in hopes of easing congestion and even help preserve their monuments.
While Lombard Street isn’t an ancient relic, it’s still a residential street where people live — and complain about the constant traffic noise. If anything, fewer tourists might just be a blessing for the locals.