VIDEO: Golden Gate Bridge officials debate removing toll plaza over spike in accidents

 

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — In San Francisco, managers at the Golden Gate Bridge have floated the idea of completely removing the toll plaza.

The bridge district switched to all-electronic tolling in 2013 but left the old toll booths standing. Since then, there has been a dramatic spike in the number of car accidents at the plaza.

In 2015, the toll plaza on the Golden Gate Bridge was hit 84 times by drivers trying to navigate through the narrow spaces between the old toll booths.

That is a dramatic increase over previous years. The reason is that back in 2013, the bridge district switched to all electronic tolling and eliminated the need for drivers to stop in order pay tolls.

Bridge District General Manager Dennis Mulligan said that since then, they have seen faster speeds through the plaza and more accidents.

“We have had motors that are driving faster than they should be,” Mulligan said. “Sometimes, they are distracted and they hit the toll plaza. So, we have had to send workers out there into lanes in harms way, and we had to block the lane and cause some congestion.”

The bridge district has already been working on a plan to improve the electronic tolling system by building a new elevated gantry way just south of the existing toll plaza.

But bridge managers are also now exploring the idea of just removing the old toll plaza completely.

“A lot of folks have chimed in already saying if you’re going to put the toll equipment up in the air…why not remove the toll plaza, open up the views and then remove the obstruction for people to hit and block traffic,” Mulligan said.

At this point, the removal of the plaza is just an idea and it could be years before it actually happens.

Commuters KRON spoke to on Tuesday afternoon said that if it’s a safety issue, they didn’t have a problem with taking it out.

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