Golden Gate Bridge District considers closing Vista Point during peak hours

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Golden Gate Bridge sure is stunning, but it may be getting too popular for its own good. Hordes of tourists are causing major traffic headaches, but is the solution shutting down the iconic Vista Point during its busiest time?

There are 122 parking spots to handle all the people that want to come to see the Golden Gate Bridge at Vista Point. That may have been enough to handle the demand 70 years ago, but that is not enough to meet the current demands. It is such an iconic spot. Visitors come to Vista Point at all hours everyday to see it.

"It's such a beautiful view, there are no words to describe it, it's unbelievable," said David Martin, Palm Springs resident.

Some experienced tourists know though that the crowds at Vista Point can be unbearable. So they come at 9 a.m. on a Monday, or even 5 a.m. when it is easy to find a parking spot.

"I have come in the daytime and it gets very crowded. They should extend it, make it bigger so everyone can come enjoy it," said Rachel Bains, Folsom resident.

Expanding Vista Point's parking lot seems unlikely, but transportation officials say they have reached a breaking point and something needs to change.

"During a holiday weekend, this last holiday weekend there was anecdotal information of travel times that were taking an hour from say Lombard to getting across the Golden Gate Bridge," said CHP Lt. Aristotle Wolfe.

The problem is as cars wait to get in to the parking lot, they clog northbound traffic on Highway 101. Bridge officials would like to close Vista Point at peak times to keep traffic moving, but the CHP says it isn't quite that simple.

"There are commuters that are just frustrated and think this is a quick answer, 'why not just do it?' Which I completely understand, but it does have impact on tourism and it does have impact on our headlands. It has impact on the Presidio on the south end. So it is not just a freeway issue," said Wolfe.

"Well I don't think they should close it down because there are a lot of people who want to experience this," said Martin.

Officials say shutting it down here and there might be short term solution, but they need a long term solution. One option that officials are weighing is shuttling people from San Francisco. The Golden Gate Bridge District has a meeting scheduled for this month to tackle the problem.

Share your photos of the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook by tagging them #abc7now!
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.