One of the truly unique San Francisco attractions, one section of Lombard Street brings droves of people to walk down or drive down the curvy road. It is unofficially called “the crookedest street in the world”, due to the unique design. It is located on Top of Russian Hill, which borders popular San Francisco neighborhoods like Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, The Marina District and Cow Hollow.
The original motivation for adding the curves to the street was actually more focused on function than form. Resident and property owner, Carl Henry, suggested that the street be changed due to the steepness of the hill, a natural 27 percent grade, which was too steep for many vehicles at the time. Carls neighbors and the City of San Francisco agreed on the design and the new road was finished in 1922. The one-way street was built with 8 hairpin turns and paved with beautiful red bricks.
Today, the street is a popular attraction for tourists, even though it is still a residential street. Most days of the year see at least a moderate amount of traffic on Lombard Street and on busy days there can be up to 250 cars per hour. Due to the popularity of driving down Lombard Street, traffic can back up and cause wait times of 20-30 minutes. It is free to drive on Lombard Street, however there have been discussions about adding a toll in the future.
If you are visiting San Francisco, taking a trip down the famous Lombard Street is definitely something to add to your list. You can also check out some of the available San Francisco Tours that include the attraction.
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