Gridlock At The World-Famous “Crooked Street” Prompts Legislation To Soothe Residents' Woes

Friday, August 23, 2019

Publication: San Francisco Magazine

Looking to take a drive down the famed twisty segment of Lombard Street? There’s an app for that—or so California State Assemblyman Phil Ting hopes there will be in the near future.

When residents built the hairpin turns in 1922 on the brick road, they hoped to tackle its 27-degree grade, which made it difficult for cars in that era to climb. Never could they imagine they were laying the foundation for what would become one of the city’s most popular tourist spots, attracting more than 2 million visitors per year. In fact, between cars queuing up to take their turns down the road and people capturing selfies at the bottom of the street, what once was an answer to transportation woes has now become the exact opposite.

“On a busy summer weekend, that street can see 17,000 visitors a day on one block,” says Ting. “What ends up happening is that the block gets overrun; then, at the bottom of the hill, you have people taking pictures while all the cars are coming down. You also have all the traffic on the side streets, with cars queuing within four blocks from that street in gridlock. We want to make it a better experience for tourists and residents.”