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State bill would allow tolls on crooked Lombard Street

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Assemblymember Phil Ting frames crooked street as safety concern

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San Francisco-based State Assemblymember Phil Ting announced a new bill Monday that would allow the city to impose tolls and a reservation system on Lombard Street’s world-famous winding curves, framing it as a safety issue and a way to cut down on traffic congestion.

Ting dubs Assembly Bill 1605 the “Crooked Street Reservation and Pricing Program,” which specifies, in part:

This bill would authorize the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco by ordinance to conduct a reservation and pricing pilot program for vehicles that use the “Crooked Street,” which the bill would define to mean the portion of Lombard Street located between Leavenworth Street and Hyde Street in the City and County of San Francisco.

[...] The bill would require the board of supervisors to include certain program requirements in the ordinance, including, among other things, congestion reduction objectives and goals, public involvement and consultation requirements, and performance monitoring requirements.

Residents of Lombard Street have been complaining about the traffic and the crowds for years.

Those parties presumably knew what they were signing up for when they moved in to the area, but both the Russian Hill residents and Ting claim that activity on Lombard has now increased to untenable levels.

“Due to over two million annual visitors, and daily queuing for up to 10 hours, traffic congestion on and around the 1000 block of Lombard Street in the City and County of San Francisco [...] has deteriorated the safety and quality of life,” according to the text of AB 1605.

Ting repeated these sentiments in a public statement Monday, claiming, “In recent years, the crowds and traffic congestion have become a safety issue.”

Supervisor Catherine Stefani, whose district covers Lombard, joined Ting, saying that “the system will address the blocks of bumper-to-bumper traffic that build up on the way to the crooked street.” She also promised that visitors will be happier after the changes.

The city is considering a number of potential Lombard fixes itself, including a plan that could potential level a $5-$10 toll on the crooked stretch of Lombard, though both locals and pedestrians would be exempt.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will consider a measure by Stefani endorsing Ting’s bill.