CORONADO, Calif., (KGTV)— Residents and visitors of Coronado have enjoyed using the Coronado Bridge for more than 16 years without paying a toll. But would reinstating a toll on the island’s main artery be beneficial in curbing overcrowding? Some residents who are fed up with tourists taking over their streets are exploring this idea.
From every angle, the town of Coronado is a picturesque retreat, and admission is free.
10News met Dianne and Ed Forman doing a scavenger hunt at Tidelands Park. They are from Santee and come to the island a few times a month to recreate.
But some locals are finding that visitors like them are clogging up roads and parking spaces. At a recent forum, Coronado City Council candidates were asked a hypothetical question: Would they support the return of tolls at the Coronado Bridge?
When the bridge opened in 1969, the toll was 60 cents each way. Then for years, it became $1 total for both directions, and carpoolers were free. Then in 2002, all fares were dropped. We asked Dianne Forman the same question. Would she pay?
“As a visitor, I would probably do it, if the bridge needed the money for the upkeep,” Forman said.
But when we told her the reason for the fee reinstatement was to possibly deter tourists from coming onto the island to relieve congestion, Forman changed her mind.
"Knowing that, I wouldn't want to pay the dollar,” she said. “It’s not fair. We want to be able to come over and enjoy the restaurants and things too, so I would say no.”
Coronado City Council Candidate, Peter Jensen told us over the phone, though highly improbable, reinstating the tolls would discourage single occupant vehicles. It would encourage carpooling, which would waive the fee. So this may be a solution to the ongoing overcrowding problem.
10News also met Tyler Matthews, who was celebrating he and his wife’s first baby shower at Tidelands Park. He commutes onto the base every day for work. He says even with a $1 toll, it would affect his commute time and wallet.
"I'd assume I'd have to leave at least 30 minutes earlier, which is way too early,” Matthews said. “And I don't want to be spending $30 a month on something I don't want to spend money on. Gas is already expensive.“
City Council Candidate, Derik Mundt says at this point, there are too many unknowns. For example, would residents and military members get a free pass?
"As of right now, I would say no [to a toll return] unless someone can prove to me that it would be beneficial to Coronado residents,” Mundt said.
Council candidates say if this were to come to fruition, it would not be up to a Coronado City Council Vote. The state and other agencies must get involved.