A view of cars and people on the crooked section of Lombard street

Photo: Peter Lee, flickr

The “crooked” section of Lombard Street is both a residential neighborhood and one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco, drawing approximately 2 million visitors each year. As the popularity of the street has increased, vehicle and pedestrian crowding has become more challenging.

The Transportation Authority is studying how a paid reservation system could alleviate congestion in the area. Funds from reservations could pay for the system’s administration and traffic management. Results from the study are expected to be finalized and presented to the Transportation Authority Board in summer 2019.

To help implement such a system, Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced AB 1605, which authorizes the City and County of San Francisco to establish a reservation and pricing pilot program for the attraction. The legislation passed out of the Assembly May 2 and now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

“It has become increasingly difficult to manage crowds and traffic congestion at the crooked street," said Assemblymember Ting. "Neither the presence of parking enforcement officers, nor the closure of the crooked segment has changed the current situation. AB 1605 offers a solution worth trying to improve public safety and the quality of life for residents.”

Transportation Authority Board Member and District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani, whose district includes the crooked street, said, “We must try out the Reservation and Pricing system as our next step towards meeting the needs of both tourists and residents. The system will address the blocks of bumper to bumper traffic that build up on the way to the crooked street, improve the experience for tourists, and better the quality of life for the residents.”

“We thank Assemblymember Ting and his colleagues in the Assembly for their support for a reservation system to improve safety and congestion on Lombard Street," said Transportation Authority Executive Director Tilly Chang. "The Transportation Authority looks forward to next steps to enabling San Francisco to pilot this project in the near future.”

AB 1605 is necessary because existing law prohibits a local agency from requiring reservations or imposing a tax, permit fee, or other charge for the privilege of using its streets.

Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to support a resolution authored by Supervisor Stefani in support of AB 1605.

If AB 1605 is approved, the City and County of San Francisco will determine how to implement a reservation and pricing program, including the cost of a reservation. As demonstrated by the parking reservations systems at Muir Woods and other parks in California, one of the most efficient ways to manage vehicle congestion is through requiring a paid reservation. These timed entry systems help better manage visitation levels at parks and attractions, allow visitors to plan their trip in advance, and reduce overcrowding, improving the experience for both visitors and nearby residents.

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