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posted: 6/9/2012 7:32 AM

Tourists intrude on residents of 'Full House' neighborhood

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  • At least 100 tour buses a day stop at the Victorian houses in San Francisco's Alamo Square neighborhood.

      At least 100 tour buses a day stop at the Victorian houses in San Francisco's Alamo Square neighborhood.
    Courtesy of Bernard Gagnon

 
Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- Residents of San Francisco's Alamo Square have learned that living in a neighborhood pictured on postcards and television shows such as "Full House" has challenges as well as charms.

The historic district famous for its colorful Victorian houses and a park with stunning views has become a popular stop for an increasing number of tour buses, at least 100 a day. Visitors can get a glimpse of the scene that appeared in the opening credits of the 1990s sitcom.

But the buses double-park, block driveways, sideswipe parked cars or move slowly on the square's narrow streets to accommodate photo-taking, prompting residents to ask city officials to crack down. The city's board of supervisors took a first step in addressing the concerns on Tuesday by passing a noise law that requires tour guides to speak so their voices cannot be heard from more than 50 feet away, The San Francisco Chronicle reported.

A neighborhood association wants the local transportation agency to reroute the buses onto a nearby street and have them drop off visitors there.

"We all recognize tourism is the No. 1 industry," Lisa Zahner, president of the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, told the San Francisco Examiner.

"We're not a bunch of NIMBYs (which stands for "not in my backyard"), but we want something that makes more sense for visitors to get more out of the neighborhood than photo op," she added.

A group of about 10 San Francisco tour bus companies has formed a professional association to negotiate with the city. They recently promised to reduce the number of trips through Alamo Square by about two-thirds, Craig Vandermause, the organization's president, told the Chronicle.

"We want to play nice in the sandbox with everyone," Vandermause said. "But we need to have access to certain areas the city has to offer."

Janet Hetzel, director of operations with Tower Tours, said the industry also needs to secure cooperation from out-of-town tour companies who may be unfamiliar with or less sensitive to local concerns.

Along with rerouting buses, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency could ban passenger buses with more than eight people from entering a neighborhood, as it already has done in North Beach, the Marina and Russian Hill, the Examiner said.

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