Lombard Street (San Francisco)

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Lombard Street
Sanfran 61 bg 032605.jpg
Lombard Street seen from Coit Tower
Maintained by SF DPW
West end Presidio Boulevard
US 101
East end The Embarcadero

Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California that is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns. The street was named after Lombard Street in Philadelphia by San Francisco surveyor Jasper O'Farrell.[1]

Route description[edit]

Looking east down the curvy block of Lombard Street, with the straight section continuing towards Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower
Looking up Lombard Street

Lombard Street's west end is at Presidio Boulevard inside The Presidio; it then heads east through the Cow Hollow neighborhood. For twelve blocks, between Broderick Street and Van Ness Avenue, it is an arterial road that is co-signed as U.S. Route 101. Lombard Street continues through the Russian Hill neighborhood and to the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. At Telegraph Hill it turns south, becoming Telegraph Hill Boulevard to Pioneer Park and Coit Tower. Lombard Street starts again at Winthrop Street and ends at The Embarcadero as a collector road.[2]

Lombard Street is known for the one-way block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, where eight sharp turns are said to make it the crookedest street in the world. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry[3] and built in 1922,[4] was intended to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade,[5] which was too steep for most vehicles. It is also a hazard to pedestrians, who are accustomed to shallow inclines, up to 4.86° because of wheel chair navigability concerns. The crooked block is perhaps 600 feet (180 m) long (412.5 feet (125.7 m) straightline), is one-way (downhill) and is paved with red bricks. The sign at the top recommends 5 mph (8 km/h).

In 1999 a 'Crooked Street Task Force' tried to solve traffic problems around the winding section of Lombard Street. In 2001 the task force decided it would not be legal to permanently close the block to vehicular traffic. Instead, it 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 proposed the use of minibuses to ferry sightseers to the famous block, although residents debated the efficiency of such a solution, since one of the attractions is driving down the twisting section.

The Powell-Hyde cable car stops at the top of this block.

Past residents of Lombard Street include Rowena Meeks Abdy,[6] an early California painter who worked in the style of Impressionism.

External images
This early image shows Lombard Street in 1933, before the hydrangeas were planted.[5]
This early image shows the houses on the south side of the block were destroyed to create a fire break during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. In this photo taken during street construction, the south side is still not built up.[5]


A panoramic view of Lombard Street

Major intersections[edit]

Note: Except where prefixed with a letter, postmiles were measured in 1964, based on the alignment as it existed at that time, and do not necessarily reflect current mileage.

The entire route is in San Francisco.

Destinations Notes
Presidio Boulevard
US 101 north (Richardson Avenue) – Golden Gate Bridge West end of US 101 overlap
US 101 south (Van Ness Avenue) – San Francisco Civic Center, San Jose East end of US 101 overlap
Gap in route
The Embarcadero Former SR 480

See also[edit]

  • 49-Mile Scenic Drive
  • Vermont Street, the other San Francisco street claimed to be the "most crooked"[10] has seven turns instead of eight, but its hill is steeper than Lombard's
  • Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa, once recognized by Ripley's Believe It or Not! as "The Crookedest Street in the World". Like Lombard Street it has eight turns but over a shorter distance.
  • Byangum Road, Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia. The main road westward from the town, it is 2.9 km long. As well as two roundabouts, it has 15 bends, most of which cannot be seen through.[11]


  1. ^ Loewenstein, Louis, K. (1984) Streets of San Francisco: The Origins of Street and Place Names. Don't Call It Frisco Press.
  2. ^ Google. "Lombard Street". Google Maps. Google. 
  3. ^ Saperstein, Susan (February 2009). "Lombard Street". San Francisco City Guides. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  4. ^ Brown-Martin, Darcey (September–October 2001). "An Honestly Crooked Street". via Magazine. 
  5. ^ a b c Saperstein, Susan. "Lombard Street". San Francisco City Guides. Retrieved June 22, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Rowena Meeks F. Abdy American 1887-1945 Biography". The Annex Galleries. Retrieved 2012-09-30. 
  7. ^ Staff. State Truck Route List (XLS file) (Report). California Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 2008. 
  8. ^ Staff (July 2007). Log of Bridges on State Highways (Report). California Department of Transportation. 
  9. ^ Staff (2005, 2006). All Traffic Volumes on CSHS (Report). California Department of Transportation.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ "Lombard Street, San Francisco". San Francisco. a view on cities. Retrieved August 27, 2009. 
  11. ^ [http://www.whereis.com/directions?na=North%20Arm%20Rd%2C%20Murwillumbah%2C%20NSW%202484&str=North%20Arm%20Rd&su=Murwillumbah&lat=-28.335232&lon=153.370041&ena=2%20Byangum%20Rd%2C%20Murwillumbah%2C%20NSW%202484&estr=2%20Byangum%20Rd&esu=Murwillumbah&elat=-28.326379&elon=153.393481&rt=foot http://www.whereis.com/directions?na=North%20Arm%20Rd%2C%20Murwillumbah%2C%20NSW%202484&str=North%20Arm%20Rd&su=Murwillumbah&lat=-28.335232&lon=153.370041&ena=2%20Byangum%20Rd%2C%20Murwillumbah%2C%20NSW%202484&estr=2%20Byangum%20Rd&esu=Murwillumbah&elat=-28.326379&elon=153.393481&rt=foot].  Missing or empty |title= (help)

External links[edit]