Lombard Street is known for the one-way block on Russian Hill between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets, where eight sharp turns are said to make it the crookedest street in the world. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and built in 1922, was intended to reduce the hill's natural 27% grade, which was too steep for most vehicles. It is also a hazard to pedestrians, who are accustomed to shallow inclines, up to 4.86° because of wheel chair navigability concerns. The crooked block is perhaps 600 feet (180 m) long (412.5 feet (125.7 m) straightline), is one-way (downhill) and is paved with red bricks. The sign at the top recommends 5 mph (8 km/h).
In 1999 a 'Crooked Street Task Force' tried to solve traffic problems around the winding section of Lombard Street. In 2001 the task force decided it would not be legal to permanently close the block to vehicular traffic. Instead, it decided to institute a summer parking ban in the area, to bar eastbound traffic on major holidays, and to increase fines for parking in the area. The task force proposed the use of minibuses to ferry sightseers to the famous block, although residents debated the efficiency of such a solution, since one of the attractions is driving down the twisting section.
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