San Francisco may charge motorists to drive famous crooked street

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Thousands of tourists could soon have to pay as much as 10 dollars (€8.85) to drive down world-famous Lombard Street in San Francisco.

City and state officials have announced a bill that would give San Francisco the authority to establish a toll and reservation system for the street that winds down a steep hill, in an effort to reduce crowds and traffic congestion.

“We must implement a system that enables both residents and visitors to enjoy the ‘Crookedest Street in the World’,” said councillor Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat sponsoring the legislation.

Residents say the scenic thoroughfare feels more like an overcrowded amusement park than a neighbourhood street. They have been calling for years for officials to address the traffic jams, rubbish and trespassing by visitors.

In the summer months, an estimated 6,000 people a day visit the 600ft street, creating lines of cars that stretch for blocks, clogging the Russian Hill neighbourhood.

“The cars really impact the neighbourhood because they line up, they back up, they are sitting idling,” said Greg Brundage, president of the Lombard Hill Improvement Association.

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