ombard Street runs east-west through many blocks in San Francisco, but it is famous for one block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets. This block is steep and hilly, with eight tight hairpin curves. It is paved with bricks, and every curve is lined with beautiful flower gardens. There are beautiful Victorian mansions on either side of the street, making it very picturesque. This one-way section of Lombard street is a must-see for anyone visiting San Francisco.
Lombard Street begins at Presidio Boulevard inside The Presidio and runs east through the Cow Hollow neighborhood. For twelve blocks, between Broderick Street and Van Ness Avenue, it is a principal arterial road that is co-signed as U.S. Route 101. Lombard Street then continues through the Russian Hill neighborhood and onto the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. At Telegraph Hill it breaks off to the south, becoming Telegraph Hill Boulevard, leading to Pioneer Park and Coit Tower. Lombard Street starts again at Winthrop Street and finally terminates at The Embarcadero as a collector road.
Lombard Street is best known for the one-way section on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, in which the roadway has eight sharp turns (or switchbacks) that have earned the street the distinction of being the crookedest (most winding) street in the world (though this title is contested. The switchback’s design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and instituted in 1922, was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill’s natural 27 degree (51%) grade, which was too steep for most vehicles. It is also a serious hazard to pedestrians, who are accustomed to a more reasonable 5 degree incline because of wheel chair navigation concerns. The crooked section of the street, which is about 1/4 mile long is reserved for one-way traffic traveling east (downhill) and is paved with red bricks. The speed limit in this section is 5 mph.
In 1999, a Crooked Street Task Force was created to try to solve traffic problems in the neighborhoods around the winding section of Lombard Street. In 2001, the Task Force decided that it would not be legal to permanently close the block to vehicular traffic. Instead, the Task Force decided to institute a summer parking ban in the area, to bar eastbound traffic on major holidays, and to increase fines for parking in the area. The Task Force also proposed the idea of using minibuses to ferry sightseers to the famous block, although residents debated the efficiency of such a solution, since one of the attractions of touring the area is driving along the twisting section of the street.
The Powell-Hyde cable car line stops at the top of this block.
LOCATION: Between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets
14.4 miles From Hotel