More than two million tourists head to Lombard Street in San Francisco to wind down its red paved twists and turns. And yes, while you can do it on foot, it’s one of those experiences that just has to be done in a car. But so popular is Lombard Street that tourists arrive en masse, causing traffic jams which reportedly run for over four blocks and contribute to air pollution.
So the San Francisco County Transportation Authority has been tasked with looking into ways to offset the problem.
“It has always been a tourist magnet, but for whatever reason, in recent years the popularity went on an upswing, and folks in the neighborhood noticed,” a spokesperson for the agency told the L.A. Times.
Among the options proposed by the agency is a 24/7 US$5 fee, limiting entry to 4,800 vehicles in a 24-hour period. Alternatively, another plan is to charge drivers US$5 on weekdays and US$10 on weekends between 9am and 9pm, limited to 2,400 vehicles. Payment would be made through a website or app in advance of the drive, with visitors booking a half-hour time window, before entering their licence plate number (even in a rental car).
If approved by the agency’s board the plan will be passed on to the Legislature and governor for state approval, the LA times reported.
BUT COULD TOURISTS JUST GO ELSEWHERE?
Just as there’s always someone richer or happier than you, if you claim that you’re the crookedest street, chances are there’s one that’s more crooked. And it’s not too far away.
Vermont Street in the Potrero Hill district of San Francisco, while having fewer turns is not only steeper than Lombard Street, but was also claimed to be crooked after its sinuosity came in at 1.56 to Lombard’s 1.2. And it’s free.
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