San Francisco considering a toll to drive down Instagram-favourite Lombard Street
Tourists may soon have to pay as much as $10 (€8.91/£7.69) to drive down the world-famous Lombard Street in San Francisco.
Lombard Street claims to be the “crookedest street in the world” and the escalating road with the celebrated zig-zags is one of the most popular spots for Instagram snaps with tourists in San Francisco. But access to the street could become restricted after city and state officials announced on Monday plans to allow the city to establish a toll and reservation system for the scenic thoroughfare.
The proposals are being considered as a solution to overcrowding and traffic congestion. In the summer months, an estimated 6000 people a day visit the street, creating lines of cars that stretch for blocks and clog the Russian Hill neighbourhood. Residents have been weaving their way through tourists trying to get the perfect shot and have been calling on the city for years to address the traffic jams, rubbish and trespassing by visitors.
San Francisco transportation officials have proposed requiring visitors to make a reservation online and pay $5 (€4.45/£3.85) for each vehicle. Another plan calls for online reservations and a $10 charge on weekends and holidays but the city would need state approval to charge people to use a public road.
The characteristic switchbacks of Lombard Street have come to represent the city’s quirky aesthetic. It’s been used as a backdrop in the 1968 film The Love Bug and the Ryan O’Neal and Barbara Streisand film What’s Up, Doc? in 1972. Nearly one million vehicles traverse the hairpin curves on this street every year and it’s frequently crowded with tourists who put the street at the top of their sightseeing lists when they travel to San Francisco.
It’s not the only iconic neighbourhood street proposing restrictions on visitors. Earlier this year, the residents of Rue Crémieux in Paris appealed to city officials to close the street to non-residents on evenings and weekends following complaints that the street is being overrun with disruptive tourists.
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