California officials say this famous quirky street is too crowded with tourists, and they may enact a toll to keep it under control.
On April 16, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously OK’d state legislation that requires people who want to drive down the street — known for its 27-degree slant and sharp curves — will have to make a reservation and pay a fee.
The bill has language noting that the street’s immense popularity has become an issue for local residents.
“It is the intent of the Legislature to authorize the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco to locally approve a reservation and pricing pilot program for vehicles to use the Crooked Street, and to designate an entity to administer the Crooked Street reservation and pricing pilot program to manage traffic congestion.”
The plan is to impose a $5 per car fee, with the rate going up to $10 on weekends and holidays. Visitors would need to register for a time and date in advance.
There are eight hairpin turns along the single block of Lombard Street.
Lombard Street is in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Though the street itself is quite long, the famous portion is the block between Hyde and Leavenworth streets. Because of the difficulty of driving it, the speed limit is 5 miles per hour.
One potential bit of good news is that the pricing system will not apply to pedestrians who want to walk down Lombard Street — if they can manage it. Other options not on the table for managing the street are privatizing the street, straightening it out (heaven forbid!) and closing it off completely.
While some tourists may be put out at the idea of paying simply to drive a block, the Lombard Street proposal has plenty of similar examples around the world.