SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Cars traveling on San Francisco’s famously crooked Lombard Street should face tolls to ease crushing congestion generated by the millions of tourists who visit it annually, a city supervisor said Thursday.
Supervisor Mark Farrell made his proposal after a transportation authority report recommended studying the idea because of lines of vehicles that often stretch three blocks as motorists wait to drive down the curvy, 600-foot street in a residential neighborhood. His district includes the street.
The street attracts about 2 million tourists a year, with up to 17,000 people visiting each weekend by car or on foot during busy summer weekends.
“There’s people climbing on roofs to take selfies, they’re walking down the middle of the street. They’re standing right at the bottom trying to get a selfie looking up the street,” said Jess Montejano, a spokesman for Farrell.
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority report envisions an electronic system to collect tolls and keep track of cars that have made reservations to travel Lombard Street on certain days at specific times. Residents who live on the street would be exempt.
Driving the street without a reservation would cost motorists more, the report said.
California state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown would have to approve legislation authorizing San Francisco’s city government to assess a toll.
State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, will work on the proposal, Wiener’s office said.
Tolls are common in San Francisco and other U.S. cities for bridges and highways.
The transportation authority could find no other examples of U.S. cities levying street tolls.