Tourists hoping to experience San Francisco’s famous Lombard street might have to soon fork over a fee to drive down the narrow passageway, which has been a tourist attraction since the ‘20s. Car tolls could be imposed on the 600-foot street passage due to the constant traffic and the millions of annual visitors the attraction receives, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
According to a transportation authority report, motorist traffic on the street could be backed up as far back as three blocks. The Lombard Street stretch sees as many as two million tourists a year and about 17,000 people can visit over a weekend during the height of the summer season (which includes both motorists and tourists visiting by foot), according to the AP.
If the toll were to be instated, vehicles would need to pay a toll and set up reservations in advance (cars that traveled the street without a reservation would need to pay a larger sum). Lombard street residents would not need to pay a toll.
An SFMTA report revealed that at some of the busiest times, driving through the street could “take over 20 minutes to traverse by car.” "They'll go fast down the hill; they're standing up taking pictures. The music is blasting," said longtime resident Terry Trapani.
No specific toll price has been revealed. California Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers would first need to approve the legislation that would permit the city to move forward with the toll.
Lombard Street, also known as the ‘the world’s crookedest street,’ became a popular attraction when its zigzag streets were made in the ‘20s to accommodate cars driving down the steep street. It was originally designed to alleviate incline concerns and was not made to be a tourist attraction originally, according to a Bay Area City Guide.