California Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) announced Friday he’s proposing keeping Bay Area bridges free for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Currently there’s a ban on tolls for anyone walking or bicycling across any of the state’s seven toll bridges that have sidewalk access, all of which are located in the Bay Area.
However, because the ban expires in January 2021, Ting is introducing Assembly Bill 2674 in order to extend the toll ban for another 10 years.
“We have spent decades promoting active lifestyles to improve our health and carbon-free transportation alternatives to combat our climate crisis. Sidewalk tolls would undo that work,” Ting said in a statement. “My bill ensures everyone has free access to bike and walk across California’s iconic bridges, encouraging more people to get out of their cars and enjoy the outdoors.”
Back in 2015, Ting authored AB 40, the original law to ban tolls for pedestrians and bicyclists for five years. He authored it just as the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District was considering a sidewalk fee for the more than 10,000 pedestrians and 6,000 bicyclists who cross the bridge daily.
According to Ting’s office, keeping the state’s toll bridge’s sidewalks free exemplifies California’s commitment to public recreation, while fostering sustainable ways to move around.
AB 2674 is expected to be heard in committee in the coming months, Ting’s office said.
Dave Snyder, Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition, said, “Bicycling and walking are solutions to many problems we face. State policy should encourage people to walk and bike, not penalize them by charging a fee to use public roads and bridges.”