Bay Area Lawmakers Act To Prevent Sidewalk Tolls On The Golden Gate Bridge

For immediate release:
Golden Gate Bridge

(San Francisco, CA) – Flanked by supporters at Crissy Field, Assemblymembers Phil Ting (D–San Francisco) and Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) announced legislation to prevent the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District from assessing a sidewalk toll on pedestrians and cyclists crossing the bridge.

Last month, the District’s Board of Directors voted to study the imposition of a sidewalk toll for pedestrians and cyclists in the context of its 45-point plan to eliminate a projected $32.9 million cumulative operating deficit over the next five years.  If ultimately approved under the plan, sidewalk tolls would begin in July 2017 – making the Golden Gate Bridge the only contiguous bridge in the United States with such a toll.

“The bridge is a symbol of possibility in our city known and loved for challenging convention,” said Ting.  “As we encourage residents to make alternative transportation choices, a sidewalk toll sends the worst possible message.  The network of parks, paths, and trails we’ve built to ensure public access to the bridge is a legacy that we share with the world.  Free sidewalk access makes it all possible.  We must keep it free.”

“California has taken an aggressive stance to slow and stop climate change.  Charging pedestrians and cyclists goes in the opposite direction,” said Levine.   “There has been no pedestrian toll on the bridge for more than half its life.  This is not the time to restore that toll.  The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most photographed images of California.  ‘Nobody Walks For Free’ is the wrong caption for that photo.”

“The District should be doing all it can to encourage people to walk and bike,” said Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition.  “Penalizing pedestrians and cyclists is exactly the wrong way to go.”

“Everyone should have free access to sidewalks, parks, and open spaces,” said Natalie Burdick, Membership and Volunteer Director of Walk San Francisco.  “A sidewalk toll would directly undermine Bay Area efforts to promote walkable cities, environmental sustainability, better public health, and equity.”

"The opportunity to experience the Golden Gate Bridge attracts millions of visitors to Northern California every year.  This experience is far more than a walk across this beautiful structure," said Joe D'Alessandro, President and CEO of San Francisco Travel Association.  "The Golden Gate Bridge is woven into a much larger adventure that includes hiking trails, parks and bike paths.  To begin charging a fee for this adventure would significantly disrupt and diminish it attractiveness to visitors and residents equally."

The District was created by the State Legislature through the Bridge and Highway District Act of 1923 and is subject to regulation under this Act.  The legislation announced by Ting and Levine today will impact this state law.

Leading up to the District’s vote to study a sidewalk fee, it received 4,205 letters in opposition and 16 in support - a 262:1 ratio against the fee.

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