Tourists on Lombard Street and at Alamo Square
The Chronicle's Debra Saunders on tour buses and Lombard Street:
There's something incongruous about people choosing to live in the heart of an international tourism destination---then complaining that there are too many tourists...
Tourism, after all, is the region's largest industry---which makes all tourists, chic or doughy, our bread and butter.
Yes, indeed. Numbers from the city's Travel Association show how important tourism is to the city's economy:
The San Francisco Travel Association reported today that San Francisco welcomed 16.9 million visitors in 2013, an increase of 2.3 percent from 2012. These visitors spent $9.38 billion in 2013, up 5.1 percent from the previous year...The tourism industry generated $607 million in taxes for the City of San Francisco, up 8.1 percent from the previous year. The number of jobs supported by tourism rose 3.8 percent to 76,834 jobs in 2013, with an annual payroll of $2.31 billion, an increase of 5.7 percent.
But surely this shouldn't mean that the neighborhoods depicted above have to be rendered a lot less inhabitable. The restrictions on tour buses on Alamo Square seem reasonable to me. And the people living in the neighborhood around Lombard Street also have a legitimate grievance about traffic that shouldn't be lightly dismissed.