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Famous San Francisco street to see summer closing


By TERRY COLLINS and MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - San Francisco transit leaders will temporarily close a stretch of Lombard Street, a popular tourist spot that's known as the "Crookedest Street in The World."

On Tuesday, the city's Municipal Transportation Agency unanimously approved a pilot closure to vehicles on the oft-photographed, well-traveled curvy and winding thoroughfare for four consecutive weekends starting in late June and including the Fourth of July weekend during the busy summer tourist season. The vehicle closure does not apply to residents who live in the area.

About an average of 2,000 vehicles travel on the street each weekend day during that period, the city said.

WHAT IS LOMBARD STREET?

The world famous scenic, hilly street in San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood been featured on TV, in movies- and even video games - is known for its one-block stretch of winding brick road that consists of eight sharp, hairpin turns. Attracting hundreds of thousands annually, tourists prefer to take snapshot panoramic views of the city at the top and then drive down the crooked street with flower gardens at every corner like it's an amusement park ride. It is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in San Francisco besides the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the Cable Cars and Fisherman's Wharf.

WHY WOULD THEY CLOSE IT?

The temporary closing idea came at the request of Supervisor Mark Farrell and a steady stream of complaints by some residents wanting to curb the street's chronic gridlock mostly due to curious tourists, especially during the summer.

"This will be a test to improve the safety for residents, pedestrians and motorists in the area," MTA spokesman Paul Rose said. "There are often a lot of people who come to either take pictures or drive down the street and it can cause lengthy delays."

WHAT DO TOURISTS THINK?

Tourist Dylan Giordano, 21, of Los Angeles, agreed, as he took in the scenery Tuesday with his family visiting from Florida. "It's an insane amount of traffic and it must be difficult and obnoxious for the wealthy residents who live here and can't even get into their own driveway," said Giordano, who just graduated from the University of Southern California with his degree in Environmental and Urban Planning.

WHAT WOULD BE THE IMPACT?

The city will evaluate what impact the temporary closure will have and may seek to shut down Lombard Street more often, Rose said. No permanent shutdown is being considered - yet.

Join the discussion

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lgreg2001 May 20 2014 at 7:29 PM

So the people that bought the houses didn't know there would be tourists? Sort of like buying house near an airport and demanding the flights stop because it's too noisy

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12 replies
coupe124 May 20 2014 at 7:05 PM

So some neighbors complained so they close the famous street to thousands of tourists that go to SF to spend money. If you don't want tourists or traffic, why would you buy a house there and then complain?

As is usual these days, the tail is wagging the dog.

Flag Reply +92 rate up
26 replies
drbuckles May 20 2014 at 7:32 PM

The crookedest street is Wall Street. So when is going to make a change?

Flag Reply +77 rate up
17 replies
kimlouise May 20 2014 at 7:32 PM

Lombard Street is an icon to San Francisco. It is one of the reasons people come to San Francisco. I believe the people who live on the street knew what they were getting into when they chose to live there. I have waited in line to drive down the street. It was all part of the experience when I took my grandmother down the street one last time before she passed away. I'm sorry to hear the supervisors have chosen to close it down at all, let alone during the busy season. It's a precious part of San Francisco's heritage that is to be shared.

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9 replies
bagybabby May 20 2014 at 7:51 PM

What the hell.. let the people have a good time driving down the street. If you don't like the people and the cars then just MOVE and get a life..

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6 replies
flysalot2 May 20 2014 at 7:58 PM

San Francisco is an extreme liberal town. Anything weird that happens there shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

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10 replies
RED May 20 2014 at 10:42 PM

I do not think they can close a street legally. Is public property and tax payers paid taxes to build it. They pay taxes to maintain the streets. I think this would be Constitutionality not allowed unless street is in very bad hazardous condition to where it would harm people who drove down the street. Move if you do not like the traffic. It is a public street not a private one.

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15 replies
Miniopolis May 20 2014 at 7:56 PM

It's about time the residents got city help on this issue. The people who live in those homes on that street deserve privacy and peace. Stop this nonsense of taking pictures and clogging driveways. Power to the resident Home Owner on Lombard's famous street!

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10 replies
ethaus May 20 2014 at 8:13 PM

Iwouldn't want any bumper to bumper traffic on my street either where I had to join the line to get home.

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10 replies
KATHI AND JOHN May 20 2014 at 7:38 PM

just like the white house ............................don't want those tourists looking around

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6 replies
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