Skip to comments.San Francisco, Haul Up Your Golden Drawbridge
Posted on 05/22/2014 8:29:14 AM PDT by Kaslin
"San Francisco, open your Golden Gate. You'll let nobody wait outside your door." Those are the lyrics of the city's signature song, but now somebody should call "rewrite."
On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency voted to bar nonresidents' cars from the crooked part of Lombard Street on Saturday and Sunday afternoons between June 21 and July 13. Last year, the agency banned tour buses from driving by the iconic Painted Ladies on Alamo Square. Thanks to well-heeled city residents who can afford to live in these world-famous properties, San Francisco is hoisting a Golden Drawbridge.
Kelly Edwards, who lives in Alamo Square's Westerfield House, gave voice to the bar-the-gauche-out-of-towners elite by posting a sign in his window that read, "Get off your big, fat tour bus and experience San Francisco."
There's something incongruous about people choosing to live in the heart of an international tourism destination and then complaining that there are too many tourists.
I get it. There are good tourists, and there are bad tourists. The pull-up-the-bridge brigade welcomes trim visitors who arrive outfitted in Patagonia gear to hike up and down the Filbert Steps and sip pojitos at Vesuvio while they leaf through their Rough Guides.
The tourists who take tour buses, however, are often old and fat. They wear shorts. You take one look at them and you know they're from some godforsaken suburb where the best watering holes offer two kinds of wine -- white and red. Who cares if they're on a tour because it's the only way they could afford the vacation or navigate a mazelike metropolis?
In a less precious environment, civic leaders would exhort locals to appreciate that all tourists deserve a warm welcome because they have come here to partake of the glorious sights that we get to see every day. They are our guests.
Tourism, after all, is the region's largest industry -- which makes all tourists, chic or doughy, our bread and butter. (Or, this being San Francisco, our sourdough and locally pressed olive oil.)
According to the MTA, public access to Lombard Street is a "safety" issue. The goal of the trial closure, requested by Lombardians and Supervisor Mark Farrell, is to "create a safer transportation experience for everyone."
Methinks advocates knew how self-important they appear when complaining about tourists clogging up their curvy curbsides, so they dressed up their self-serving request to keep other people's cars off Lombard Street as a concern for others. The MTA also is considering gating the public street so only residents can use it. For safety reasons.
There was a 2011 collision on Lombard in which a driver hit a railing and hurt pedestrians. In 2012, a car decapitated a fire hydrant, and a passenger in a speeding car was injured. Farrell tells me the recent boom years have brought "utter chaos" to the crooked block, with "cars and pedestrians on the same street completely ignoring the rules of the road." Drivers are distracted. There are, he said, "countless instances on a daily basis of people who almost get hurt." It will only get worse.
Still, it sounds safer than Fifth and Mission. Besides, the gridlock should make it safer for clueless out-of-towners.
Then again, maybe there is a safety issue. I can hear a plaintive cry for help now. "Sloan, look. Some tacky tourists are taking selfies in front of the house and blocking the caterer's truck. I think I'm having a panic attack."
That part of Lombard street has been closed before.
Ah, San Francisco, the city I detest. Every time I had to go there the very first thing I wanted to do was leave.
Clever, funny article, thanks for posting.
Reminds me of my 10 years in that city — I started turning up my nose at tourists who arrived in summer clothes in June. How gauche. WE didn’t wear shorts and, heaven forbid, WHITE shoes.
Actually, it was too COLD and DAMP for shorts of any color.
Actually, I’m pretty impressed that a communist city like San Francisco would have a higher regard for property owners and local taxpayers than they would for gawkers.
The smug is thick in SF
We had it down to -22F this winter. I'm thinking you folks in SF lack perspective because we're in shorts well into the 40's.
I seem to remember that there is a younger set there that took pride in wearing shorts year round. They'd have hoodies for the cold, but damned if they were gonna get caught wearing long pants out in the cold damp fog.
Back in 1961 folks and I sailed under the GG Bridge after several years stationed overseas. SF looked damned good to me.
I’d like to see all the tourist just go home and stay home...Everyone bitches about CA, yet the out-of-staters make a never ending conga-line to come here.
And I just watched this Milton Friedman interview yesterday. It is related.
“I started turning up my nose at tourists who arrived in summer clothes in June. How gauche.”
This is why so many Americans can imagine without qualms this Painted Lady called San Francisco some day sliding off into the sea.
The one and only time I ever visited SF—wearing `tourist clothing’—I got the distinct impression natives were looking down their noses at me.
It was a human zoo, something like Paris but with more bizarre natives. Never went back. ;^)
The miners came in `49,
The whores in `51.
They rolled around,
Upon the floor,
And made the native son.
Well of course, were individuals, not clones and that is as it should be. I speak only for myself, and understand that we all have different tastes and preferences, that is why I refrained from making any other derogatory comments. I am quite aware of the beautiful and cultural aspects of the city, but for me it is not.
“Id like to see all the tourist just go home and stay home”
Deal. Just keep all your homeless beggars out there, K? Thank you.
Well I am a California native and also get tired of the carp from out of staters, but in all fairness they are not always wrong and I sometimes agree with them. The problem is that they are blind to the issues in their own states. But I guess we all tend to have that blind spot.
It is indeed a unique place on the west coast, and easily the most beautiful city in California. There is always an electric atmosphere; a sense of character and vitality.
Lived there for half a year several decades ago. Kinda liked the mix of cosmopolitan and funky. The cost of living — not so much.
Oh sure...There are no beggers in on the east coast or Virginia. Sure buddy.
I wonder what would happen if we rebranded illegals as “tourists”...
‘Actually, it was too COLD and DAMP for shorts.....’
Really? It is 58deg and sunny in C-Town today. We have had exactly 0 days above 80 and only a handful above 70 all year.
It has gotten so cold the last several years that I have taken to dressing based on the calendar. Once it is April 1, I wear shorts. If I waited until it got warm enough I would have to break out the parkas again. Damn Global Climate Disruption.
AS for SFO I have been there several times for both business and travel. I actually asked my wife to marry me in Muir Woods.
However, as beautiful as the city is. I found it to be somewhat dirty, had too much graffiti, and way too many aggressive homeless people.
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