on September 16, 2009
Lombard Street. San Francisco.Lombard Street is the most crookedest road in the world and can be found in San Francisco. It is only part of the long Lombard Street and the crooked part can be found on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth streets. It only measures a quarter or a mile long between these points and the speed limit is only five mph and you can only drive one way in the downward direction. On either side of the street are San Francisco’s most expensive houses mansions, town houses and condominiums which are very much sought after.What makes it so interesting?It was built originally because vehicles could not cope with the 27% gradient so it was suggested that switchbacks of hair pin bends were built thereby making the ascent or descent more manageable. It was also quite difficult for pedestrians to climb as 16% gradient was more manageable.Work was begun in 1922 to put in the road which resulted in 8 bends in the road making it more manageable to walk up and down. In between the bends are flower beds containing bright displays of chrysanthemums and other very colourful flowers. Ornamental trees line either side of the road. The bricks used in the road are actually red in colour and the traffic sign at the top warns that it is slippery when wet! Either side of the road beside the houses are a flight of steps that can be walked up or down. This is definitely very stressful on the knees even if you are fit you will still have a racing heart and be puffing quite a bit if you are mad enough to walk up the road.There is a board game called candy land and Lombard Street was covered in different colours for a film shoot creating a giant game imitating the game and filmed from the air. You can see the mini video at:-http://laughingsquid.com/video-lombard-street-in-san-francisco-turned-into-life-size-version-of-candyland-game/You can also see a small clip on you tube which gives you a good idea of how steep the hill is. A video of a crazy guy doing wheelie ride up and down Lombard Street on a motorbike:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNa360R75aw Or another one is on Google video: - http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1382509830241306782#docid=3082347063934108832The road has also featured in a number of films including what’s up Doc? Starring Ryan O’Neal & Barbara Streisand and the Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo Scottie’s apartment is at 900, Lombard Street, although this is not in the crooked road part.The Powel-Hyde cable car stops at the top of the hill and I would suggest if you want to see this street then get off here and walk down. You need to be quite energetic to walk up it. Saying that, when you reach the bottom of the road you can take some brilliant photographs of the road looking up at the different levels of the road. It is very touristy and there are sometimes queues of traffic lining up to experience the drive down and it’s quite pleasing to see the horror and laughter of the people inside the cars. The driver concentrating like hell while the passengers are either terrified or in hysterics it is quite amusing to watch.It is worth making the trip to see Lombard Street and I would recommend stopping off here on your tram trip for half an hour just to experience if for yourself.
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