Residents who live on the zig-zagging block of Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth say they knew it was a popular attraction when they moved in, but dramatic increases in tourists over the last 3 years have them and the city determined to find a solution.
With eight sharp and steep hairpin turns, San Francisco’s Lombard Street is known for being the “crookedest street in the world.” Residents who live on the zig-zagging block between Hyde and Leavenworth say they knew it was a popular attraction when they moved in, but dramatic increases in tourists over the last 3 years have them demanding a solution.
Residents say visitors have a hard time believing that people actually live there. Year round, at all hours, literally hundreds of people swarm over their properties. Pollution from the constant stream of cars means residents can’t open windows. Traffic backs up surrounding steep streets preventing residents from getting home. Pedestrians even casually stand in intersections to take pictures or take in the view, blocking traffic further.
After living there 17 years, Jim Hickman compares it to Disneyland, saying people “feel like it's not real. I've had them take pictures of me taking out the garbage.”
Since 1979, ideas of blocking off the street to only residents or making it a pedestrian-only zone have been brought up on and off. While there’s been confusion over laws and resident support over the years, the increasing recent problems have the city investigating options including, but not limited to, donating or selling the property to the block’s homeowners so they can erect any barriers they’d like, including a toll booth.