Now that all the human toll workers on the Golden Gate Bridge have been unceremoniously let go as a cost-cutting, embrace-the-future measure, California Highway Patrol is learning that those workers served a purpose beyond just straightening your crinkly dollar bills. On the first day of 100% person-free toll collecting, some drivers were doing 60 mph through the toll plaza.
The speed limit at the new plaza is actually 25 mph — reasonable, considering how narrow the lanes are at the old toll booths. Overall, the freedom to pick whichever damn lane you want is a good thing because the southbound stretch of Highway 101/Route 1 opens up from three lanes to 11 at the plaza — the problem is confused people cutting back and forth trying to make their exits on the other side.
“There’s not a lot of room to go left or right when you’re going 60 mph and through the tolls,” CHP Officer Andrew Barclay told the Examiner. “Our concern is that if someone who thinks they’re not supposed to be in one lane and they move quickly to another, and all of a sudden you have a car going 2 mph in front of you when you’re doing 60.” Which would be immensely frustrating, if not fender-bending.
Anyhow, for every idiot who zips through at twice the speed limit, someone else stops to ask why there's no one in the toll booth, despite abundant signage. "[Some drivers] were looking for someone to pay or what to do now,” Bridge District spokeswoman Mary Currie said. “It’s a big adjustment for drivers. We’ll continue to tweak things. We’ll have to tweak the signs to include the speed limit.”
In the meantime, CHP is posting up additional officers around the toll plaza to catch the wannabe stunt drivers. Expect the beefed-up police presence to stick around for at least the next few weeks.