Ting Begins Second Term With Bill To Block Sidewalk Fees At Golden Gate Bridge

(Sacramento, CA) – Immediately after being sworn into his second term of office, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D–San Francisco) introduced legislation to block the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District from assessing a sidewalk toll on pedestrians and cyclists crossing the bridge.

“A sidewalk toll would undo decades of work to promote public recreation and transportation alternatives that are better for our environment,” said Ting.  “The network of parks, paths, and trails we’ve built to ensure public access to the bridge is a legacy we share with the world.  Everything falls apart without free access to the sidewalk.  With working people being priced out of their city, we must take a stand and keep bridge access free.”

The District was created by the State Legislature through the Bridge and Highway District Act of 1923 and is subject to regulation under this Act.  Assembly Bill (AB) 40 changes this state law by removing the creation and collection of a sidewalk toll from the powers granted to the District.

“California has taken an aggressive stance to slow and stop climate change.  Charging pedestrians and cyclists goes in the opposite direction,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), joint author of the bill.  “There has been no pedestrian toll on the bridge for more than half its life.  This is not the time to restore that toll.  The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most photographed images of California.  ‘Nobody Walks For Free’ is the wrong caption for that photo.”

In October, the District’s Board of Directors voted to study the imposition of a sidewalk toll for pedestrians and cyclists in the context of its 45-point plan to eliminate a projected $32.9 million cumulative operating deficit over the next five years.  If ultimately approved under the plan, sidewalk tolls would begin in July 2017 – making the Golden Gate Bridge the only contiguous bridge in the United States with such a toll.

There are four bridges at the borders of the United States that charge 50-cent pedestrian tolls.  One links New York and Canada at Niagara Falls and the other three bridges link El Paso, Texas with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Leading up to the District’s vote to study a sidewalk fee, it received 4,205 letters in opposition and 16 in support – a 262:1 ratio against the fee.

 Download the exact text of the proposed legislation here.

About the California Bicycle Coalition

CalBike enables more people to bicycle for the health, safety, and prosperity of all Californians. We envision millions of people riding bikes every day in California with networks of safe streets and paths conveniently connect every destination. Our goal is to double the amount of bicycling in the Golden State by 2017 and triple it by 2020.

Calbike’s membership coalitions across the state include: Bike Bakersfield, Bike East Bay, Chico Velo Cycling, Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Marin County Bicycle Coalition, Napa County Bicycle Coalition, People Power of Santa Cruz County, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition, Shasta Living Streets, Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, and Walk & Bike Mendocino. In 2013 CalBike launched the Women on Bikes California initiative.