SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — State legislators in Sacramento on Thursday approved a pilot program to test out a system requiring reservations and a toll for people to drive down San Francisco’s landmark crookedest street.
The legislation proposed by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) in AB 1605 passed in the State Assembly by a vote of 51-18 late Thursday morning.
The bill authorizes the City and County of San Francisco to charge drivers who want to travel down Lombard Street, the Marina District attraction that draws more than two million visitors a year to that part of the city. The hilltop road provides both a breathtaking view of the city and the novelty of driving down the street’s hairpin turns.
The bill needed to be passed in order for the pilot program to launch because existing law prohibits local agencies from imposing a tax or permit fee for the use of a public street or highway.
“It has become increasingly difficult to manage the crowds and traffic congestion at the Crooked Street,” said Ting in a press release. “Neither the presence of parking enforcement officers, nor the closure of the crooked segment has changed the current situation. AB 1605 offers a solution worth trying to improve public safety and the quality of life for residents.”
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority conducted a study that recommended the management of access to Lombard Street in order to regulate traffic at the busy tourist attraction.
A second study is in the works to review options of possible technology to be used with the reservation and pricing system, system enforcement, hours of operation, price levels and possible exemptions. The results of that study are expected this summer.
Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to support AB 1605. The proposal now moves to the State Senate for approval before being sent to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.