Ting Proposal for Reservation & Pricing System On World Famous Lombard Street Heads to the Governor
As frustrations over traffic congestion on San Francisco’s Lombard Street heighten, the city is one step closer to being able to test a solution. The California State Assembly sent AB 1605 to the Governor today, allowing a Reservation and Pricing System Pilot Program on the Crooked Street, which sees more than two million visitors a year. The bill by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) is necessary because existing law prohibits a local agency from imposing a tax, permit fee, or other charge for the use of its streets or highways.
“It has become increasingly difficult to manage the crowds and traffic congestion on Lombard Street,” said Ting. “Neither the presence of parking enforcement officers, nor the closure of the crooked segment has changed the current situation. AB 1605 offers a fix worth trying to improve public safety and the quality of life for residents.”
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) concluded in a 2017 study that access to the popular tourist attraction must be better managed and recommended a Reservation and Pricing System to do so. Lombard Street draws up to 17,000 visitors per day on busy summer weekends. Queues of motorists often form at 10am and run as late as 8pm, with wait times extending to 45 minutes per vehicle.
The proposed strategy would regulate demand and flow at the entrance while reducing the length of cars lined up, and could be implemented through an all-electronic system supported by a website, mobile app or on-street kiosks. Recent amendments to the bill require the SFCTA to identify ways to accommodate low-income, disabled or elderly visitors at Lombard Street. The SFCTA must also compile regular reports to assess the program’s effectiveness and ensure it is working as intended.
“I’m grateful to Assemblymember Ting for his leadership and to the California Legislature for supporting AB 1605,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani, whose district includes the crooked segment of Lombard Street. “Everyone will benefit from the improved safety and traffic conditions that this system will bring to the crooked section of Lombard Street. I look forward to doing what I can to ensure we take the next steps so that San Francisco can pilot this project in the very near future.”
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also unanimously backed a resolution by Supervisor Stefani to support AB 1605. It now heads to Governor Newsom for consideration. Like all bills passed in the last days of session, he will have until mid-October to act. If approved, the law will take effect on January 1, 2020.
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