November 22, 1995 in Nation/World

Curvy Lombard Street Reopened

Associated Press

It took five months and $1.2 million before the city finished straightening out the “World’s Crookedest Street” on Tuesday.

That is, they fixed the aging pipes, missing bricks and other signs of wear and tear that kept the famous one-block stretch of Lombard Street closed since May 30.

The s-curves were still in place when the street reopened after its facelift, to the delight of visiting tourists and at least some residents.

The first driver down the eight sharp turns - beating Mayor Frank Jordan’s official reopening by an hour - was resident Joan Javon in her red sports car, who startled pedestrians out of their vehicle-less tranquility.

“I’m real excited,” she said. “The work is beautiful, the brickwork is nice, the landscaping is wonderful.”

Missing are many of the 1,100 blooming hydrangeas that graced the 73-year-old street, but they are being replanted and should be in full flower by spring.

Lombard Street’s curvy design grew out of necessity. It was a little-used block with a clifflike 27 percent grade until 1922, when the city built the switchback-style design to reduce the grade to 16 percent. Residents built the brick staircases for pedestrians.

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