Assemblyman Phil Ting, right, co-authored legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown signed Wednesday prohibiting the state from charging pedestrians and bicyclists from being tolled on bridges. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)

Governor signs bill banning bridge sidewalk tolls

What started as an outcry from pedestrian and bike advocates is now settled with the stroke of the governor’s pen.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 40 on Wednesday, a bill banning state bridges from charging tolls to use their sidewalks.

Late last year, the Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Directors voted to study if charging walkers and cyclists to cross The City’s iconic bridge to help close a budget deficit.

The bill was authored in response to the board’s vote by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco and Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County.

“Finally, a bad idea is off the table,” said Ting in a statement. “No community in the nation has a sidewalk toll. We should not nickel and dime people pursuing healthy transportation alternatives.”

Walk San Francisco, the California Bicycle Coalition and local San Francisco Bicycle Coalition have all come out against the sidewalk bridge tolls. The groups and Ting maintained charging walkers and cyclists would discourage healthy and environmentally friendly behavior.

Priya Clemens, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge district, said “We defer to the wisdom of our elected officials in Sacramento with respect to this policy issue, which affects all bridges in the state.”

“We have been focusing on other initiatives in our Strategic Financial Plan to address the District’s projected deficit,” she said.

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