Gov. Newsom vetoes bill that would have enabled paid reservations for Lombard Street

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have required tourists pay a fee in order to drive San Francisco’s famed Lombard Street.

AB 1605, introduced by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), would have allowed San Francisco to enforce a reservation and fee system on the crooked street. Currently, the city does not have the right to levy additional charges on individuals using its streets. In some of the bill’s scenarios, the cost to drive down Lombard would be up to $10 on weekends and holidays.

But Newsom didn’t believe AB 1605 was the right solution to the problem.

“As the former county supervisor representing this neighborhood, I am acutely aware of the need to address congestion and safety around Lombard Street,” Newsom wrote in his veto message. “However, the pricing program proposed in this bill creates social equity issues. Access to this iconic attraction should be available to all, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Massive tourists crowds have made Lombard unlivable for residents, some locals have argued. About 2 million tourists each year visit the scenic street, and they regularly create massive traffic jams in the area. A few years ago, a pilot program banned cars altogether on weekends. But that created a new problem — people walking all over the street, creating a danger for themselves and residents who needed the roadway.

“It’s a bit of a madhouse,” Lombard Street’s head gardener Jennifer Board told The Chronicle in 2016. “A lot of residents fear it will take something serious and unfortunate to get anything done.”

Newsom’s veto message notes that his administration “is committed to working with the legislature and city and county of San Francisco on other, workable safety solutions.”

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/lombard-street-fees-toll-reservation-14518627.php.

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