AB 40, a bill introduced by Phil Ting, was signed into law last month, and would keep bay area bridges free

A bill banning pedestrian and bike tolls on the Golden Gate and other bridges in the Bay Area, authored by Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Marc Levine, was signed into law by Jerry Brown last month.

Last October, the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation Board of Directors voted to study a proposed a bill that would impose tolls on pedestrians and cyclists as a way of reducing its budget deficit. It would have made the Golden Gate Bridge the only contiguous bridge in the United States with a toll for pedestrians and cyclists, which is not exactly the image the Bay Area is trying to portray.

San Francisco was recently found to have the least number of obese men, and Marin County to have the longest living women in the nation, and a lot of that has to do with the free opportunities offered in the bay area to stay healthy and active. Being able to walk, run and bike across the bridge is a year-round weekend activity that a lot of people have come to appreciate about living here, and charging them to do so would be counterintuitive to the image that the bay area has been setting the curve on for years.

1,107 of you signed the Reset San Francisco petition last year arguing that we should not punish people who use automotive alternatives, and, obviously, the numerous biking and walking advocates of this city agreed. Tyler Frisbee, the Policy Director at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition was quoted saying that a bridge toll for pedestrians would be “antithetical to San Francisco and Marin County’s goals of improving our air quality, encouraging physical activity and improving public access to our most treasured places.”

Ting and Levine also agreed, and proposed AB 40 in April of this year, and it was signed early this October. “Finally, a bad idea is off the table” said Ting, echoing the voices of most bay area citizens. The district’s budget deficit will have proposed alternative solutions, but one of them, thankfully, will not be a toll on pedestrians or cyclists on our California bridges.