Lombard Street residents overwhelmed by tourists

Residents near the famous crooked block of Lombard St. expect some noise and commotion, but they say it's gotten out of hand.
January 7, 2014 5:31:19 PM PST
Tourism is the number one industry for San Francisco, but it can also be a big headache for those who live around major tourist destinations like the famous block of Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth, which could be in for some changes.

Residents in the area say they expect noise and commotion because it is a tourist destination but they say in recent years, it has gotten out of hand. People come from all over the world. Everyone wants to see Lombard, known as the "crookedest street in the world."

"It's very historic. It's a landmark," one man said.

The month of January is a slow period, during the off season. Residents say if you multiply the level of activity you see now by hundreds, you can see what they experience every day during the spring and summer. "Limousines, taxis, and buses... This is the first attraction when people come to San Francisco. They come here," resident Sarv Randhawa told ABC7 News.

Residents say in the last few years there's been an overwhelming explosion of tourists. "We're not equipped to be a tourist attraction like the Golden Gate Bridge or Union Square. We have no facilities for the people and we have no security," said resident Jim Hickman.

San Franciscans who live near the famous Painted Ladies were recently able to ban tour buses from their neighborhood. They are already off-limits on Lombard and the streets that cross it, and further restrictions are a concern to Rodrigo Enriquez, the president of Extranomical Tours.

"As the city becomes less tourist-friendly, there will be less people that want to come to San Francisco," he said.

Supervisor Mark Farrell is hoping to strike a balance. He is asking the city attorney to explore options like banning cars from Lombard, limiting hours, and even blocking off the street.

"We want to do the least restrictive thing that we can, the least restrictive regulations to make sure it doesn't change its current use or in any way detract from it as a tourist destination, but also balance that with our neighborhood," Farrell said.

Farrell hopes to have a compromise in place before the tourist season hits its stride later this year.


Load Comments