About Lombard Street

Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California. It is famous for having a steep, one-block section that consists of eight tight hairpin turns. The street was named after Lombard Street in Philadelphia by San Francisco surveyor Jasper O’Farrell. – Source by Wikipedia

Lombard Street History

People are often puzzled as to why this street is so crooked. The answer is safety. The naturally steep grade of the street posed a severe safety hazard. In the 1920’s a property owner in the area suggested the scenic switchbacks to add aesthetic appeal while increasing safety for pedestrians. – Source by SFtodo

 

What Can You Enjoy On Lombard Street?

  • Take scenic photograph
  • Enjoy a scenic drive
  • Famous Homes
  • Get some exercise
  • Catch a cable car

 

Lombard Street Route

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. 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% grade, which was too steep for most vehicles. It is also a serious hazard to pedestrians, who are accustomed to a more reasonable 4.86° incline because of wheel chair navigability concerns. The crooked section of the street, which is about 1⁄4 mile (400 m) 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 (8 km/h).

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.

Famous past residents of Lombard Street include Rowena Meeks Abdy,an early California painter who worked in the style of Impressionism. – Source by Wikipedia

In The Media

  • In his film Vertigo (1958), Alfred Hitchcock chose to make 900 Lombard Street the home of John “Scottie” Ferguson.
  • The street, and the difficulty of driving it, is parodied in the Bill Cosby sketch “Driving in San Francisco” on the album Why Is There Air? (recorded in Las Vegas): “They built a street up there called Lombard Street that goes straight down, and they’re not satisfied with you killing yourself that way—they put grooves and curves and everything in it, and they put flowers there where they’ve buried the people that have killed themselves. Lombard Street, wonderful street.” (audience reacts with knowing cheers and applause).
  • It is in a speeding car scene in the 1964 comedy film Good Neighbor Sam starring Jack Lemmon.
  • It was also included in the comic car chase scene in Peter Bogdanovich’s film What’s Up, Doc? (1972) starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal.
  • It is also featured at the beginning of the promotional video for “People on the Street” from the Neil Young album Landing on Water (1986).
  • In 1994, the MTV reality show The Real World: San Francisco was filmed at 949 Lombard Street. Although sources such as Real World Houses give the door number as 953, castmate Cory Murphy notes the door number as 949 in the season premiere when first arriving with Pedro Zamora. One entrance to the house leads to the second floor bears the number 949, and an adjacent door facing the street that leads to the third and fourth floors, bears the numbers 951 and 953.[7][8][9]
  • In the final scene of The Simpsons episode “Lisa the Tree Hugger” (2000), a log is shown traveling down the street on its way to the Pacific Ocean.
  • In the Monk episode “Mr. Monk and the Garbage Strike,” there is a scene where Adrian Monk goes to the Mayor’s office during a citywide sanitation union strike. He suggests his idea of evacuating the whole city, burning it down, then burning the ashes, and rebuilding the city, saying “Think of it, we rebuild San Francisco …from scratch. Start fresh, everything clean. Everything brand new. Gonna have that new city smell. Fresh off the lot, we can even straighten out Lombard Street while we’re at it.” In the tie-in novel Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, when Monk and Natalie Teeger visit the Mayor’s office during a major police strike, Monk again brings up his request to straighten Lombard Street.
  • In the American Dad episode “Bar Mitzvah Hustle,” Steve Smith devises a theft scheme with “more twists and turns than Lombard Street.” When his team looks at him in confusion, he shows them a picture of the street, which they immediately recognize.
  • The street features in multiple video games, including the 2000 video game Midtown Madness 2, and the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as Windy Windy Windy Windy Street.
  • In 2010, the street was briefly featured in an episode of MythBusters. The MythBusters “delivery crew” encountered problems during an experiment when their step van could not complete the tight turns on Lombard Street, culminating with the delivery truck stalling and holding up traffic at the bottom of the hill.
  • The game San Francisco Rush: Extreme Racing shows Lombard Street as a shortcut on the circuit 3.
  • The game Driver: San Francisco has an Achievement/Trophy for driving down Lombard Street, going at least 20 miles per hour without hitting any obstacles.
  • Lombard Street was also featured in the video games Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Lego City Undercover.

Source by Wikipedia