San Francisco Tourists May Soon Have To Pay To Drive Down This Famous Street

Photo: Getty Images.
San Francisco’s Lombard Street is affectionately nicknamed Crooked Street, and for good reason. The winding road is flanked by beautiful landscaping and colorful homes, earning it a spot in many city guides and on many Instagram feeds (of course). While the street is a remarkable sight on foot, the full experience comes from driving down its steep hill — but that might soon come at a cost.
Legislation proposed in the California state legislature earlier this week would implement a reservation and toll system on the road to curb crowds and hopefully reduce traffic. More than two million people visit Crooked Street each year, according to the bill, which says peak hours can cause up to three blocks of bumper-to-bumper traffic on the street.
It’s likely few tourists coasting, or rather inching along the road, consider that Lombard is actually a residential street. But legislators hope the proposed bill will reduce noise complaints and restore safety and quality of life to the residents there.
Two solutions are currently on the table. The San Francisco Transportation Authority wants to either require a reservation and $5 fee to ride down Lombard Street at any time, or have a booking and toll system from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The latter solution would scale the cost structure to $5 on weekdays, and $10 on weekends and holidays.
If enacted, the new policy could take effect as early as January 1, 2020, but the city can’t enforce any proposal to charge people without state approval.
“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, who wrote the legislation. “This is just giving San Francisco control of its city streets.”