Lombard Street (San Francisco)
Lombard Street seen from Coit Tower
|West end||Presidio Boulevard|
|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. Stretching from The Presidio east to The Embarcadero (with a gap on Telegraph Hill), most of the street's western segment is a major thoroughfare designated as part of U.S. Route 101. The famous one-block section, claimed as "the most crooked street in the world", is located along the eastern segment in the Russian Hill neighborhood. The street was named after Lombard Street in Philadelphia by San Francisco surveyor Jasper O'Farrell.
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.
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 most crooked street in the world. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and built in 1922, was intended to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade, 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).
Time-exposure photo at night clearly shows the 8 switchbacks
- 49-Mile Scenic Drive
- Vermont Street, the other San Francisco street claimed to be the "most crooked" 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.
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