Golden Gate Bridge considers sidewalk toll for walkers, cyclists

Golden Gate Bridge District staff float a proposal to charge a toll for walkers, skater and cyclists who cross the iconic span between Sausalito and San Francisco.

Pedestrians on the bike path

From the Marin Independent-Journal:

On Monday the [Golden Gate Bridge] district released a 45-point plan to keep the agency solvent in the next five to 10 years as it grapples with a five-year, $33 million deficit.

Among the initiatives: “Evaluate sidewalk access fees” for bikes and pedestrians, which could be implemented in 2017.

“It is by no means set in stone. It’s just a concept right now,” says district spokeswoman Priya Clemens.

An estimated 6,000 cyclists and 10,000 pedestrians cross the the Golden Gate every day. When the Golden Gate Bridge district last considered a sidewalk toll ten years ago, they estimated an annual take of $500,000 to $1.5 million. The Marin Bicycle Coalition say they vehemently oppose such a toll, even for tourists and other occasional users.

110,000 vehicles crossed the bridge daily in fiscal 2013. Vehicle tolls currently generate a little over $100 million annually for the bridge district, with another $30 million from transit fares, $15 million from operating assistance grants, and $20 million in “other” revenue such as advertising and investment income. The bridge district began charging $20 per month for parking at their Larkspur ferry terminal earlier this year.

The district will spend $115 million to operate their transit service this year, $23 million on transit capital, $70 million for their bridge operating expenses, and $45 million on bridge capital expenses.

Read the full story at the Marin IJ: Golden Gate Bridge renews talk of sidewalk tolls.

See also the the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition “Say No” petition.


  1. Last time this came up, didn’t they drop it because the cost of collecting a $1/person toll would be almost as much as the amount of money collected? I don’t see that changing this time.

    If they want to charge money, they should charge the rental bike and tour bus companies directly, based on the number of bikes rented and tour bus stops at the bridge. And charge for parking at the bridge viewpoints.

    Most of the non-rental bikes on the bridge are commuters and charging them would encourage them to drive instead, which certainly sends the wrong message.

  2. The metric is officially VMT reduction now, no longer LOS. Charging peds and bikes increases VMT. Charging motor vehicles more reduces VMT. Its that simple.

    Tolls should be charged based area of road occupied by the motor vehicle. A bus takes up ~three car lengths but pays 15 times! the toll of the three cars combined. Since lowering VMT is the metric, bus riders should pay much less and cars more. They need follow the new rules or risk legal action.

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