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Lombard Street (San Francisco)

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Lombard Street
Lombard Street in 2020
Part of US 101 between Richardson Ave./Broderick St. and Van Ness Avenue
NamesakePhiladelphia's Lombard Street
Maintained by
Coordinates37°48′07″N 122°25′08″W / 37.80194°N 122.41889°W / 37.80194; -122.41889
West endPresidio Boulevard
East endThe Embarcadero
Interactive map of the crooked section of Lombard Street

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 stretches from The Presidio east to The Embarcadero (with a gap on Telegraph Hill). Most of Lombard Street's western segment is a major thoroughfare designated as part of U.S. Route 101. The famous one-block section, claimed to be "the crookedest street in the world", is located along the eastern segment in the Russian Hill neighborhood. It is a major tourist attraction, receiving around two million visitors per year and up to 17,000 per day on busy summer weekends, as of 2015.[1]

San Francisco surveyor Jasper O'Farrell named the road after Lombard Street in Philadelphia.[2]

Route description[edit]

Lombard Street's west end is at Presidio Boulevard inside The Presidio; it then heads east through the Cow Hollow neighborhood. For 12 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.[3]

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[4] and built in 1922,[5] was intended to reduce the hill's natural 27 percent grade,[6] which was too steep for most vehicles. The crooked block is about 600 feet (180 m) long (412.5 feet (125.7 m) straight line), is one-way (downhill) and is paved with red bricks. The sign at the top recommends 5 mph (8 km/h).

The segment normally sees around 250 vehicles per hour, with average daily traffic reaching 2,630 vehicles in 2013.[1] During peak times, vehicles have to wait up to 20 minutes to enter the Crooked Street segment, in a queue that can reach Van Ness Avenue.[1] To reduce habitual congestion and delays, future visitors may be required to reserve a time and pay a fee to drive down the crooked street.[7][8]

The Powell-Hyde cable car stops at the top of the block on Hyde Street.[9]

By 2017, the area around the curved segment had become a hot-spot of what has been described as "San Francisco's car break-in epidemic."[10] This may in part have been due to its heavy traffic and association with tourism.

The Academy of Art University owns and operates a building called Star Hall on the street for housing purposes.[11]

Past residents of Lombard Street include Rowena Meeks Abdy,[12] an early California painter who worked in the style of Impressionism.[citation needed]

Chase scenes in many films have been filmed on the street, including Good Neighbor Sam, Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, What's Up, Doc?, Magnum Force, and Ant-Man and the Wasp. Lombard Street is also portrayed in the 2015 Pixar film Inside Out, and is referenced by Bill Cosby on his 1965 comedy album Why Is There Air?.

Major intersections[edit]

The entire route is in San Francisco.

Presidio BoulevardWest end of Lombard Street

US 101 north (Richardson Avenue) / Broderick Street
West end of US 101 overlap
Fillmore Street
Octavia Street

US 101 south (Van Ness Avenue)
East end of US 101 overlap
Polk Street
Hyde Street
The crookedest street in the world segment
Leavenworth Street
Columbus Avenue
Powell Street
Stockton Street
Grant Avenue
Telegraph Hill Boulevard / Kearny Street
Gap in route
Montgomery Street
EmbarcaderoEast end of Lombard Street
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


See also[edit]

  • Vermont Street, the other San Francisco street claimed to be the "most crooked"[13] 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.


  1. ^ a b c San Francisco County Transportation Authority: Lombard Study: Managing Access to the "Crooked Street". February 2017 (PDF)
  2. ^ Loewenstein, Louis, K. (1984) Streets of San Francisco: The Origins of Street and Place Names. Don't Call It Frisco Press.
  3. ^ Google. "Lombard Street" (Map). Google Maps. Google.
  4. ^ Saperstein, Susan (February 2009). "Lombard Street". San Francisco City Guides. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  5. ^ Brown-Martin, Darcey (September–October 2001). "An Honestly Crooked Street". Via Magazine.
  6. ^ Saperstein, Susan. "Lombard Street". San Francisco City Guides. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2011.
  7. ^ "Tolls, reservations for SF's Lombard Street approved by California lawmakers - SFChronicle.com". www.sfchronicle.com. September 5, 2019. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  8. ^ "Tourists May Pay Tolls to Drive Crooked San Francisco Street". NBC Bay Area. Associated Press. Retrieved September 8, 2019.
  9. ^ "Hyde St & Lombard St". San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retrieved September 15, 2015.
  10. ^ Palomino, Joaquin; O'Neill, Emma; Trumbull, Todd (March 16, 2018). "Breaking down San Francisco's car break-in epidemic". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 19, 2018. Parts of San Francisco popular with tourists were hit hardest, including Japantown, Civic Center, the famously curvy stretch of Lombard Street, and the Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 area.
  11. ^ "Academy of Art University Campus Map" (PDF). academyart.edu. Academy of Art University. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
  12. ^ "Rowena Meeks F. Abdy American 1887–1945 Biography". The Annex Galleries. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
  13. ^ "Lombard Street, San Francisco". San Francisco. a view on cities. Retrieved August 27, 2009.

External links[edit]

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