Visitors may soon have to pay as much as $10 to drive down the world-famous Lombard Street in San Francisco, California.

Lombard Street winds down a hill and is often overrun by tourists. It is known as the “most crooked street in the world.” In an effort to reduce the number of people visiting the street, city and state officials this week announced a bill that would give San Francisco the power to charge a toll. The bill also includes a reservation system for the street.

People who live on Lombard Street say the area feels more like an amusement park and not like a city street. Lombard Street locals have been asking officials for years to do something to reduce the traffic and the number of visitors.

In the summer months, an estimated 6,000 tourists a day visit the 183-meter-long street. Lines of cars wait to drive on the street, which stops traffic in the city’s Russian Hill area. San Francisco transportation officials have suggested having visitors make a reservation online and pay $5 for each car. Another plan calls for a $10 fee on weekends and holidays.

The city needs state approval in order to make people pay money to use a public road. City officials would then decide how much the toll would cost and how they would collect it. They would also decide what to do with the money. The new toll system is not expected to be in place until 2020, officials said.

Vida Bhatt was visiting San Francisco from Melbourne, Australia. She drove down the crooked street with her family. They later decided to go back and explore the area on foot.

“It’s so beautiful! I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else in the world,” Bhatt said.

Bhatt said she would happily pay a toll to have the experience of driving down Lombard Street.

“This is one of the top attractions in San Francisco and I’m coming from so far in the world, I would pay and make sure I got to see it,” she said.

Locals built the tight turns of Lombard Street in 1922, because it was otherwise too steep for cars to go up at the time. Over time, neighbors added beautiful flowers and plants along the street.

Lombard Street became famous through appearing in many movies and commercials.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.

toll – n. a payment for using a bridge or road

  • We had to stop to pay the toll.

reservation – n. to hold something in advance

  • We made dinner reservations at the restaurant for 6 o'clock.

crooked – adj. not straight

  • a crooked path

amusement park – n. a park with rides for children

  • Let's visit an amusement park this weekend.

attraction – n. a thing people want to see

  • The waterfall continues to be the main attraction at the park.


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.

1. Why did the city officials decide to introduce a toll for driving down Lombard Street?

2. How many tourists visit the street daily, on average?

3. When will the toll system be put into place?

4. When and why were the turns built on Lombard Street?


Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

crooked, toll, reservation, amusement park, attraction


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

1. What do you think about the plan to introduce a toll for driving on Lombard Street?

2. Have you ever heard of Lombard Street?

3. If you visited San Francisco, would you pay to drive down this street?

4. What are some of the most famous attractions in our city / country?


This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA.