Last month, San Francisco Officials passed (in assembly and senate) a bill that would create a “toll and reservation plan” for visitors who wished to snake down the world-famous section of Lombard Street. But California Governor Gavin Newsom axed the bill late Saturday night, allowing a drive down the “World’s Crookedest Street” to remain a free affair, for everyone.
Drawing some two million visitors a year, the drive-able Russian Hill landmark has long been lauded for its quirky man-made nature and jaw-dropping views of the cityscape. So, in a perpetually funds-hungry San Francisco, it’s little wonder why the city aimed to tax the weaving section of Lombard between Hyde and Jones, per the AB-1605 bill.
(To spare you from having to sift through copious amounts of legal jargon, the bill, if made into law, would've greenlit a “non-resident” toll and reservation plan for the world-famous attraction, costing tourists as much $10 on weekends and holidays to traverse down.)
Newsom, however — who, earlier in his political career, represented the Marina District on the city’s Board of Supervisors — was having none of it.
“As the former county supervisor representing this neighborhood,” Newsom said in his signing statement, according to SF Gate. “I am well aware of the need to address congestion and safety around Lombard Street.”
But, as he later addresses, not at the cost of creating “social equity issues.”
“The pricing plan proposed in this bill creates social equity issues,” Newsom adds. “Access to this iconic attraction should be allowed to all, regardless of their ability to pay.”
The bill was sponsored by Assemblymember Phil Ting, who represents the 19th Assembly District, citing that the bill would help alleviate “crowds and traffic [that congest] the crooked street.”
To boot, the bill, if enacted into law, would've allowed SF officials to bypass yet another existing law, which prohibits local agencies from implementing taxes or permit fees for the use of any single public street or highway; neither, thankfully, came to fruition.