Lombard Street is one of the major arteries of the city of San Francisco, but between the blocks of Hyde Street and Leavenworth Street in the Russian Hill section of town, the street serves as more of a sight to see as opposed to the best way for traffic to get through. It is here that the street becomes incredibly narrow, windy, and steep. It has the claim of the "crookedest road" in America and was one of my favorite sights in all of San Francisco.
Lombard Street boasts an incline of 27 degrees--that's pretty steep! Its curves were designed in the 1920s by necessity rather than for aesthetic. Cars and people could not just go down the hill without crashing or falling over and rolling to an unpleasant demise. The banked curves helped make it possible for cars to navigate this cliff (both going up and coming down).
Though this historic section of Lombard Street is now a one-way road (going down the hill), the curves are still a necessity. In the past, task forces and commissions have tried to deal with the traffic problems this section of the street causes, but in the end, they have found that banning parking during the summer and making it a one-way street is all they can do.
This section of Lombard Street is a very swanky section of town and an excellent place to get a view of the nearby attractions like Coit Tower and Alcatraz. Mums bloom during the warmer months in the garden plantings that line the curves, which adds to this neighborhood's beauty. The houses on this block are among the priciest in San Francisco and beautifully kept up.
For the best view of Lombard's quirky design, try looking from the bottom of the hill upwards. It is just amazing how this brick-road section has served its purpose for so many years yet is still such a tourist's marvel.
Lombard Street is truly a San Francisco sight that must be seen for yourself. You won't see anything like it anywhere else!