Funding for Lombard Street toll road put on hold

Funding to further look into the potential of implementing a toll and reservation system on the crookedest part of Lombard Street was put on hold at Tuesday’s meeting of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.

The SFCTA commissioners, made up of the Board of Supervisors, decided to delay allocating $250,000 to have transportation planners further plan and design a reservations and toll system for the crooked portion of Lombard Street. Another $250,000 is set aside for the Lombard Street project in Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed capital budget.

Commissioner London Breed had concerns using a reservations system for the popular tourist attraction.

Breed mentioned the backlash from the public on using a reservation system to reserve park space with the Recreation and Park Department.

Breed said she understands the challenge to manage traffic and pedestrians at popular tourist attractions like in Alamo Square Park and the Painted Ladies, both in Breed’s district, but said:

“I do want to make sure we come up with a plan that makes sense.”

Chair Aaron Peskin said he wanted to severe the item from the list of other projects that were up for approval using local Proposition K funding until the next commission meeting so that Commissioner Mark Farrell could address the matter. Farrell was absent when the item came up for approval, and the project is in his district.

Another issue was brought up by Peskin regarding the state law for The City to implement a reservations and toll system on a city street:

“Absent a change of state law, this fee cannot be applied at all, whether it is a bridge type toll or whether it is a reservation system.”

Last month, commissioners unanimously approved a study on Lombard Street in March.

Farrell said in March that the situation on the crooked portion of Lombard Street has become a safety issue for millions of tourists who visit the street every year, and causing a nuisance for residents who live on the street.

The next SFCTA board meeting is on May 23.

Other projects approved by commissioners to receive Proposition K funding, included $1.1. million for improvements to the downtown Ferry Terminal, $60,000 for redesigning the plaza at the Balboa Park BART Station and nearly $400,000 to study improving the intersection of Sloat and Skyline boulevards.