As the residents who live along it well tell you, San Francisco's second most crooked street has a problem. Namely, that twisty block of Lombard Street is just too popular with tourists, and now, as the Chronicle reports, city officials are considering a host of measures — including requiring those who wish to drive the street's meandering curves purchase a ticket in advance — to reduce traffic on the block.
This, it should be noted, is just one of four possible moves being studied by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. Other options, which are being presented today at a community meeting, include charging a toll, having "parking control officers and ambassadors" onsite to wrangle crowds, and closing the block altogether to nonresident drivers.
And, according to those who live on the street, these measures can't come soon enough.“It didn’t used to be this way, but the city allowed this to happen,” Greg Brundage, who lives on the block in question, told the Chronicle. “This used to be one of the prime neighborhoods of the city — and still is, in some ways — but we’re invaded daily.”
Brundage, who's lived there twenty years, describes having to chase two strangers off his roof with a golf club recently. “It really has taken a lot of the joy out of living here,” he added.
As many will remember, this is not the first time the city has struggled to address the reality of a busy street. In June of 2014 officials closed off the famed curvy stretch of Lombard to (most) cars as part of a weekend pilot program. But instead of car-free calm, neighbors instead got a pedestrian-fueled nightmare (the horror!).
Officials with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority have apparently spent the last year studying the problem following a prompting by Supervisor Mark Farrell, and the "solutions" set to be proposed tonight are a result of that work.
While officials have yet to decide just how to address the Lombard nightmare, the study on the block clarified what's at stake: perception. "A review of collision data indicated that the Crooked Street is not a Vision Zero safety concern," the study website reads. "Slow speeds and congestion in the area mean that any crashes are minor, however, parking control officers, residents, and cable car operators report frequent 'close calls' that contribute to a perception of danger."