SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A San Francisco supervisor proposed an unprecedented toll for the city’s famous “crookedest street in the world” to reduce or eliminate congestion in the area, the supervisor’s office said.
Lombard Street in the city’s Russian Hill neighborhood gets more than two million visitors each year and traffic backs up to drive down it.
Farrell is proposing a toll and reservation system that might limit traffic to 220 vehicles per hour. A two-year study on the proposal released Thursday by the San Francisco Transportation Authority says that would eliminate backups.
Members of the Russian Hill Neighbors, a neighborhood group, support the proposal and prefer to call it a reservation system.
The group is not opposed to making the reservation system free, chair of the Russian Hill Neighbors transportation committee Stephen Taber said.
Traffic backs up four or five blocks as tourists, residents and guests try to drive down the street, according to Taber.
“It’s a bad thing for the neighbors,” he said.
Taber said it’s also bad for tourists who have to wait to make the trip.
Taber said there doesn’t seem to be a downside. But a toll may not sit well with tourists.
Taber also suggested a hefty fee such as $100 for people who drive down the street without a reservation.
A spokeswoman with the San Francisco Travel Association, which promotes the city as a place for business and leisure travel, said officials have not reviewed the proposal but the board is going to consider it at its next meeting.
How many hours a day the street would be open, which days it would be open, the cost of the toll, all will require further study, transportation authority spokesman Eric Young said.
Farrell said the residents of the Russian Hill neighborhood need “relief” while visitors are allowed to enjoy the curves, flowers and views.
Young said state legislation would be needed to impose a toll.
The study cost $110,000 to complete. Most of that, or $90,000, came from a transportation authority half-cent sales tax. The rest of the cost was paid through the transportation authority’s general fund.
Wednesday the report will be presented to the transportation authority’s citizen’s advisory committee and in March the proposal will go before the transportation authority’s board.
The members of the board are the 11 San Francisco supervisors. Supervisor Aaron Peskin is the chair of the transportation authority’s board.
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