San Francisco Officials Propose Fee to Drive Down Famous Street

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. crooked / ˈkrʊk ɪd / (adj) – not straight

    My sister has crooked teeth.

  2. impose / ɪmˈpoʊz / (v) – to put a rule or policy in place

    The school imposed a fine on students who are always late.

  3. jeopardize / ˈdʒɛp ərˌdaɪz / (v) – to put someone or something in danger

    Frequent late nights at the office jeopardized her personal relationships.

  4. serenity / səˈrɛn ɪ ti / (n) – the state of being peaceful or calm

    Drinking tea on a rainy day gives me a feeling of serenity.

  5. vandalism / ˈvæn dlˌɪz əm / (n) – the act of destroying or damaging a public or private property

    Writing on the walls of the municipal hall is considered a form of vandalism.


Read the text below.

Local San Francisco officials have created a bill requiring people to pay a fee before driving down Lombard Street, the most crooked road in the world.

The local government plans to impose a $5 fee for each car, with the price increasing up to $10 on weekends and holidays. City officials have also proposed a reservation system, wherein visitors must reserve a time and date before driving down the street.

The new bill was created in response to the street being a huge hit among tourists and causing problems for local residents.

An estimated 2 million people visit Lombard Street every year, with queues to drive down the street lasting for up to 10 hours. The volume of visitors has jeopardized the safety and serenity of the lives of Lombard Street residents and the surrounding areas.

Residents have complained about heavy traffic, loud noises, piles of trash, and incidences of vandalism and trespassing. According to some residents, tourists have climbed on the roofs of their houses and used their carports as toilets.

Local official Catherine Stefani said that the money collected can be used to address the residents’ complaints and to employ more police patrols, traffic officers, and tourism ambassadors in the area.

San Francisco locals, specifically Lombard Street residents, supported the proposal. The residents are glad that something is being done to address the iconic street’s traffic and safety situation.

Tourists visiting the street, however, have different reactions to the bill. Some tourists said they would willingly pay the fee to experience driving down Lombard Street; others said they would prefer visiting the spot for free.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If the bill were passed, do you think the complaints of Lombard Street residents would be resolved? Explain.
• If you had the opportunity, would you like to visit Lombard Street despite its proposed fees? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What do you think makes a place attractive to tourists? Explain.
• Do you think it is reasonable for tourist spots to charge visitors a fee? Why or why not?