Despite huge public opposition, the Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Directors voted to pursue the idea of charging a toll for people biking and walking across the bridge.
The Board’s decision to further study a toll on people biking and walking is disappointing, and clearly out of step with the values of the Bay Area to promote healthy, sustainable forms of transportation. The Bay Area is a national leader in sustainability, and this decision to discourage biking and walking is a step in the wrong direction.
Today’s vote does not mean that a toll will be instated right away, but it means that the possibility of charging people biking and walking moves one step closer to reality.
The Board meeting was filled with members of the public, as well as city and state decision-makers who came to speak out in opposition to the idea. An overflow room had to be added to accommodate the huge number of supporters for a free and accessible Golden Gate Bridge. Thank you to everyone who joined us today!
Since learning earlier this week that Bridge District was once again pursuing this bad idea, the San Francisco and Marin County Bicycle Coalitions have been quickly rallying members and supporters to call on the Bridge District to remove this idea from consideration. The public cries were loud and clear, with more than 4,800 signatures in just 48 hours. Sign it here and show your continued support!
While the Board ultimately decided not to remove the toll from consideration, the vote was very close, with a 10-9 split. The vote itself was almost entirely divided along county lines, with almost all San Francisco Board members voting to remove the idea, and only one North Bay member, Kathrin Sears, joining them. From San Francisco, only Director John Moylan voted against removing the bike/ped toll from the list.
Supervisors Scott Wiener, London Breed, David Campos and Norman Yee all spoke up in opposition to the idea, and voted to remove the toll from the list of considerations. Directors Mike Theriault and Janet Reilly also highlighted their opposition to the toll, reminding their fellow Board members that tolling the Golden Gate Bridge isn’t consistent with our region’s values and that it sends the wrong message to residents and visitors alike. Finance Chair Dick Grosboll even joined in, saying that he “didn’t expect to take this vote today,” but that he doesn’t support tolling biking and walking.
“I think it’s just not a good idea at all,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener. “Cars and trucks are what put the wear and tear on the bridge. Walkers don’t put wear and tear on it. We want people to walk and bike, and charging people to do that doesn’t make sense to me.” He added that promoting biking, walking and transit is good for everyone. “If you’re driving a car, the person who rode their bike or took transit is your best friend.”
Supervisor Campos stressed the need to keep the Golden Gate Bridge accessible for all, and opposed a “pay to play” approach for one of our region’s greatest treasures. “I think it’s taking us in the wrong direction. It is simply unfair to charge for what I think is a public space.”
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will continue to speak out against this anti-bike, anti-pedestrian plan. Please join us.