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.
Send the tourists to Chicago. We welcome them here, and their money. The city appreciates the business, and we have judges to bribe. The money has to come from somewhere.
Smell the feces and urine, meet our surly bums!
When I called she was laying on the tile floor with a wet clothe on her forehead.
She said people were not sure how to handle it.
An anomaly for sure.
I love the City. Used to go all the time when we lived in SF. Even the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Last few visits I was surprised by the aggressiveness of the hoe less especially in civic center park and on Mission and market.
The sanctuary stuff got to me when the family was shot and the mayor (who wants to be governor) was blasé about it.
But it is a great city and beautiful in many spots.
I live in San Jose. I don’t agree with San Francisco on many things, but I do think this is reasonable. I think the roperty owners should not be trapped in their homes. The tourist can just walk to see it.
Allow me to offer an alternative to Lombard Street, but it's not in the US.
There's a winding road in Urzig, Germany that takes you from the Mosel River Valley to the top of the ridge. It may not be as scenic as Lombard Street (which I have visited), but the natives are far friendlier than the average San Franciscan.
I drove that route every day my last 2+ years in Germany. On a nice day, the Mosel would unfold for 10 miles in both directions, and the stress just melted away.
Urzig is the home of the famous vineyard known as Urziger Wurzgarten, which I look forward to visiting again in a year or two.
This pic brings back fond memories:
The wine is world-class, too!
Really? Is that some kind of guy fashion rule? I'm waiting until June 1 to break out the white shoes, because that IS a RULE for women. But I no longer live in SF, so white shoes are back on the fashionable list.
I haven’t noticed anyone following those rules in years.
You are brave! We tried that once....
They probably were NOT graduates of Ladywood, where rules for everything were drummed into our heads 24/7. Am I dating myself?
I would like to see they fleeing Californians stay in the state if they are just going to spread their liberalism around.
Well, I am a guy and it is my rule. So, yes. As for foot wear. As a man, I am not a shoe bigot. It is either casual, sport or formal. Three pair of shoes is often two too many.
I think the rules are silly. :) If it’s 80 degrees, why not wear white shoes? Or white clothing?
I live about a 30 minute drive from S.F. (when traffic is light). Up until the early 1990’s, I often went there for dining, shopping, and visiting historical sites.
But in about the mid 1990’s, I gave up and never returned. The sidewalks smelled like stale urine, the bums were too aggressive, and the local government didn’t seem to care. In fact, I cynically believe there is a “homeless industry” within the city government that relies on the bums for their phoney-baloney jobs.
On my last visit, I almost got into a fight with an aggressive panhandling bum who tried to put his hands on me at Union Square. Later I saw a homeless mental patient in the parking lot at Fisherman’s Wharf, screaming that he was going to get an AK-47 and start shooting everybody. We tried Pier 39, and as I turned a corner, I almost bumped into a bum urinating in a stairwell.
I enjoyed visiting S.F. from the 1960’s through the 1980’s. But somehow the city literally turned into a cesspool, and I won’t ever spend any money there again.
San Francisco is one of those cities that you either love or hate. My brother lived in the area for years and loved it. Me, on the other hand, I don’t like it at all or even see the appeal.
I much prefer the coastal towns from mid California South.
We had a great time. Kind of a NYC Christmas feel. Theatre tickets slogged and stayed at the Fairmont.
I was in the city for 8 weeks once on work and knew where to go to get away from downtown. Sunset district etc.
Then my daughter was there and she knew a bunch of places to go.
Don’t know if or when I’ll go back. Not able to walk the hills so much anymore.
No matter whose side they take, the communist monarchs of the city still tax the crap out of both sides, true to their political roots.
I, too, would like to see all tourists boycott San Francisco for just one year, and give you a taste of what real taxation looks like.
“...the aggressiveness of the hoe less...”
San Francisco is decidedly not hoe less, counting both inside and outside of City Hall.
I also live about 20 mins or so on a light traffic day but when is that?.About an hour ago(10AM) traffic was still heavy westbound on I80.
I lived on an off in SF over the years and in 1987 I left and said “never again”.
People were pooping in GG Park.Just pulled their pants down and plop.Broad day light Yeck!
Needles everywhere,my poor little daughter was told by some man that she doesn’t belong in the neighborhood.(yeah we’re white)
Tourists skim the surface,but when you have to live in that place it is not so pretty,but to each their own.
I now get physically ill when I have to go there(medical)
“Well I am a California native and also get tired of the carp from out of staters...”
The irony is that the majority being “carped” about are liberals from out of state.
“Id like to see all the tourist just go home and stay home.”
Ah,ha! So YOU don’t travel in order to show respect for the privacy of people in other parts of the country,or world.
They favor illegal immigrants but hate tourists??
“They favor illegal immigrants but hate tourists??”
Good catch,that never even entered my mind.:-)
LOL I love auto text
Yeah, the only reason I go to SF is if my wife wants to go take in a Giants game. (Usually only when the Dodgers are in town)
If I want to visit a coastal town I drive over to Trinidad or Crescent City (I live in Redding). Same climate, cleaner living.
Boy, another one who couldn't buy a clue at half price.
We want state government to collapse under it's own corrupt weight.
Those capable of critical thought understand what's left of the corrupt state gov's taxes/revenue will continue to shrink...The days of them going after more and more money are over, as people simply don't have any more stinking money.
They'll have to tax the stupid tourists if they want more money. I'm all for that.
Please, take your next vacation in Hacksaw Arkansas, or maybe Europe....Try down under....wherever...
Uh no, I’d rather go to the dentist than travel, fly on commercial aircraft and be subjected to airports, pushy rude crowds etc. No thanks.
Here’s a clue: It’s its not it’s.
Like I said, you couldn't buy a clue at half price slick.
Feel free to continue feeding tax dollars to the CA corruption machine. Government thanks you for your support.