- San Francisco transportation officials have proposed a toll for tourists to travel down world-famous Lombard Street.
- Lombard Street is also known as the “crookedest street in the world”.
- It is estimated that thousands of people visit the street every day, resulting in an overload of residents who actually have to use it.
- The proposed fees could result in tourists paying up to $ 10 to use the thoroughfare.
- The red brick road hairpin turns were built in 1922 because the 27-degree incline was too steep for cars of the era to climb.
- The neighbors added lush gardens of hydrangeas and roses 30 years later.
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Thousands of tourists may soon have to pay up to $ 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 authority to put in place a toll and reservation system for the road that winds down a steep hill to reduce the crowd and traffic jams.
“We need to implement a system that allows residents and visitors alike to enjoy the ‘crookedest street in the world’,” said Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat MP who supports the legislation.
Residents say the quaint thoroughfare feels more like a crowded amusement park than a neighborhood street. You have been calling on officials to deal with traffic jams, garbage and trespassing for years.
During the summer months, an estimated 6,000 people a day visit the 183-meter-long street, creating rows of cars that stretch across blocks and clog the Russian Hill neighborhood.
“The cars really make an impact on the neighborhood because they line up, back up and idle,” said Greg Brundage, president of the Lombard Hill Improvement Association.
Flickr / Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar
San Francisco transportation officials have proposed requiring visitors to make reservations online and pay $ 5 for each vehicle. Another plan calls for online reservations and a $ 10 fee on weekends and holidays.
The city needs government approval to charge people for using a public road. However, it would be up to city officials to determine how and what to calculate and how to use the funds. The new toll system is not expected to be introduced before 2020.
Regulatory Authority Catherine Stefani said the fee would help keep the reservation system up and pay more traffic control officers, more police patrols in the area and tourism ambassadors who would ensure visitors have a good experience.
“It’s a pilot program, but we have to try to remove the traffic jams,” said Stefani.
Vida Bhatt, a tourist from Melbourne, Australia, said she and her family drove down the crooked street and parked their car. Then they would have decided to explore the thoroughfare on foot.
“It’s so beautiful! I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else in the world,” said Bhatt.
Bhatt said she would like to pay to have the experience of driving down Lombard Street.
“This is one of the top attractions in San Francisco, and I’ve come from so far in the world that I’d pay and make sure I can see it,” she said.
The residents built the red brick hairpin bends on the road in 1922 because their 27-degree slope was too steep for the cars of the era to climb. The neighbors added lush gardens of hydrangeas and roses 30 years later.
The wide vistas and the fact that a cable car stops at the top of the road added to its popularity. Its worldwide fame only grew after it was featured in films and commercials, and now the street receives around two million visitors annually.
Brundage, who has lived on the streets for 22 years, said dealing with traffic jams was half the problem. He would also like to do something about the buses dropping off tourists, but welcomes some progress in dealing with the situation.
“This is a pilot program but we are very happy that the day has come,” he said.