San Francisco considers closing Lombard Street

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tourists from all over the world come to see it, but the city of San Francisco wants to close Lombard Street to traffic for the summer. It's a controversial plan that some are calling crooked and it comes with a big price tag. That closure would happen on the curvy part of Lombard between Hyde and Leavenworth.

On Tuesday, the city will consider spending $100,000 on the temporary closure of the famous stretch of Lombard Street. They received lots of complaints from neighbors about traffic, but tourists do not like the plan one bit.

A trip to San Francisco may not be complete without a drive down "the crookedest street in the world". It was the first stop for Marilus Burgos visiting from New York.

"It's gorgeous, it's beautiful," Burgos said.

The iconic brick-lined street is so popular people can wait up to an hour on weekends to drive it. That's a problem for homeowner Jim Hickman who moved here 17 years ago.

"It's not that we don't want the tourists, we just want some reasonable order," Hickman said.

Hickman is vice president of the Lombard Hill Improvement Association. He says traffic gridlock has trapped many residents in their homes and brought accidents, such as a car which flipped over.

"We have no facilities to handle thousands of people a day so we're just kind of overrun. There's no security, there's no order. There's no traffic flow. People stop in the middle of the street and do whatever they want."

Homeowners have appealed for help and the city proposing closing crooked Lombard to cars on four weekends this summer, beginning June 21 to July 13 from noon to 6 p.m.

"Traffic is an issue and sometimes it backs so much onto Van Ness, it conflicts and impacts the regional transit network," Paul Rose from the San Francisco MTA said.

But closing Lombard could spark a backlash among tourists.

"It's a shame they're thinking about closing it! The same with taking away the cable cars, it would be disastrous for San Francisco," tourist John Burke said.

"To me, when they bought these houses it was an acceptance of this, so why close it? They should of thought about it before they bought it," Burgos said.

Hickman said of course they knew what they were buying into. Hickman says pedestrians can still use Lombard any time. Neighbors agree the crooked street isn't so charming, if no one can live here.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.