A Cultural Journal

    THE CROOKEDEST STREET IN THE WORLD: LOMBARD STREET, SAN FRANCISCO

    Written by: Shahida JJ - Posted on: October 08, 2013 | Post your comment here Comments | 中国 (Chinese)

    Google Translation: اُردو | 中文

    THE CROOKEDEST STREET IN THE WORLD: LOMBARD STREET, SAN FRANCISCO

    Author in front of a red garage on Lombard Street

    "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."

    - Bill Cosby

    An artist's version of the street

    San Francisco city (SFO) California, on the West Coast of the USA, is a must visit. Springy weather year round, lovely flowers, and lots of beautiful and historical sites to visit; located at sea level on the Pacific Ocean.

    One of the city's tourist attractions is the Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world!

    Granddaughter drove me on it last autumn. I have been to it - driven on it, walked it, rode on the SFO Trolly to it  - numerous times over the years! And visit it each time I am in SFO city.

    Hills of San Francisco

    San Francisco city is located on 74 hills (it is claimed) out of which 47 have been given names. 

    Seven SFO Hills, and their names

    Seven Important San Francisco Hills over 900 ft are: Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Rincon Hill, Mount Sutro, Twin Peaks at 910 ft,  and Mount Davidson at 925 ft. Remaining hills are lower in height.

    SFO roads are all going up and down the hills. Some of the roads are extremely steep. For safety, SFO city has imposed strict parking laws, so cars do not roll down into the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean!

    Parking Laws- drivers are required to the following:

    1. Turn the steering wheel toward the curb if the car is facing downhill. The front part of the front tire should be turned into the curb

    2. Turn the wheel away from the curb if the car is facing uphill. The back of the front tire should be turned into the curb

    And the Traffic Police very closely monitor and fine offenders!

    Lombard Street under construction in the 1920s

    Driving on SFO hills is a driver’s test; driving a stick shift is extremely challenging. Almost all vehicles are automatic drive!

    The Crookedest Street in the World

    Lombard Street is one of the great attractions of SFO.  It is claimed to be the crookedest street in the world.

    Lombard Street

    The crooked part of the steep street  is a one-block section about 1/4 mile (400 m) that consists of 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). It is one-way traffic traveling east (downhill) and is paved with red bricks. The speed limit in this section is 5 mph.

    Maximum speed allowed on Lombard Street is 5 mph

    Lombard Street begins at Presidio Boulevard and runs east through the Cow Hollow neighborhood.  Between Broderick Street and Van Ness Avenue, for twelve blocks, it is a principal arterial road that is co-signed as U.S. Route 101.

    Another SFO tourist attraction, the only manually operated cable car/trolly in the world, the Powell-Hyde cable car line stops at the top of this block, and tourists either walk down the Lombard Street or drive down its 8 "switchback" turns.

    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 four point eighty six-degree incline.

    Beautiful multi colored flowers are planted on the winding sides of the road, and attractive apartment buildings line the road - as in children's story books.

    Lombard Street then continues through the Russian Hill neighborhood and onto the Telegraph Hill neighborhood. At Telegraph Hill, and finally leads to Route 101.

    Lombard Street has been featured in numerous movies, here are a few:

    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)

    Lombard Street is included in a car chase sequence in Clint Eastwood's crime drama Magnum Force (1973) starring Clint Eastwood, Hal Holbrook, and David Soul.

    In 1994, the MTV reality show “The Real World: San Francisco" was filmed at 949 Lombard Street

    It is featured in a speeding car scene in the 1964 comedy film “Good Neighbor Sam,” starring Jack Lemmon.

    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

    Famous past residents of Lombard Street include Rowena Meeks Abdy, 604 College Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404, an early California painter who worked in the style of Impressionism.

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