Tour Buses Banned From Alamo Square, “Painted Ladies” Neighborhood, in San Francisco

Tourists can still visit the famous "Painted Ladies" neighborhood in San Francisco's Alamo Square -- they'll just have to hoof it on foot.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's Board of Directors voted 5-0, with one abstention, to ban tour buses from a 25-square-block area surrounding Alamo Square Park, an area known for its colorful Victorian houses, called the "Painted Ladies" and featured in TV shows such as "Full House." The ban will take place in 30 days.

Residents of the scenic and historic neighborhood have pushed for a ban because they're sick of the oversized vehicles and massive tour buses chugging past their homes, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The new rule covers tour buses with more than nine seats and sets the boundary areas as Fell Street, east of Divisadero Street, south of Golden Gate Avenue and west of Webster Street, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

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MTA staffers had suggested two options. One was a complete ban on all commercial buses carrying more than nine passengers, with the exception of employer shuttles. The other was a partial prohibition that would have permitted tour buses to cruise slowly along Hayes Street while tourists craned their necks and snapped quick photos. Both choices included a tour bus loading zone on Fell Street east of Pierce Street.

Tour bus operators have lobbied against this prohibition.

They told the Chronicle that the Painted Ladies row of Victorians is one of the top tourist attractions in San Francisco and that they're usually on the list for people attending conventions or international visitors taking scenic sightseeing tours.

"Every year we have more and more restrictions," Patricia Hunting, a tour guide, told the newspaper.

"I fully understand neighbors' concerns, but if people can't come to San Francisco and see the sites that San Francisco is famous for, they won't come anymore," she said. "Imagine going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower."


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