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Plan To Unclog San Francisco’s Famous Lombard Street Backfires

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Tourists, instead of cars clog Lombard Street on the day when automobiles were banned.

Tourists, instead of cars clog Lombard Street on the day when automobiles were banned.

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) — It looks like a plan to unclog San Francisco’s most famous street has backfired.

Tourists found a way around Lombard Street’s first weekend closure by walking straight through it.

Lombard’s been turned into a pedestrian path.

Closing the crookedest street in the world to tourists was supposed to give residents a break, and some privacy.

Instead, they got chaos.

Signs went up and police moved in, shutting down curve-covered Lombard Street. It was an attempt to straighten out tourists that have taken over the legendary landmark.

“I lived here for 12 years and this is the first time it’s been blocked off,” said tourist Kathryn Smith. “So I was shocked.”

This is a pilot program – no cars allowed on weekend afternoons. Homeowners, who paid a pretty penny to live here, have had it up to here.

“If this was a lower income neighborhood and they had this kind of traffic they would be in an uproar,” said Greg, a Lombard Street homeowner.

But many tourists who paid a lot of money to get here, weren’t about to be turned away. Instead they turned the redbrick road into a winding walkway. Lombard Street was more crowded than ever.

“I think this pilot program is a joke… I mean look at this,” exclaimed Fran Bak.

This is considered a month-long experiment, balancing crowds and caution, homeowners and tourists. People who live on the block and have proper permits were allowed to drive on the street. Taxicabs were, too.

“I’m loving it,” said Donna Sales as she walked along with the crowd. “I’m seeing it with my friend. We’re watching it together.”

Well, whoever thought closing down the crookedest street in America would drive tourists away was definitely thrown a curve ball.

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