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SF Reopens ‘Crookedest Street’

November 22, 1995

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ The ``World’s Crookedest Street,″ with its eight s-curves in one block, reopened to traffic after nearly six months of renovation.

Some residents were bent out of shape by the move that will bring thrill-seeking drivers back to their steep stretch of Lombard Street.

The first driver down Tuesday was resident Joan Jovan in her red sports car, startling pedestrians accustomed to the vehicle-free tranquility of past months.

``I’m real excited,″ she said. ``It’s a fun road, but people aren’t used to seeing anybody come down it. They were a little surprised.″

Resident Richard Juster wasn’t so thrilled, saying he hoped city officials ``don’t get people to come and see the new Lombard. It’s a residential neighborhood. They can’t treat it like Disneyland.″

The block was closed for a $1.2 million renovation to fix aging pipes, missing bricks and other signs of wear and tear.

Lombard Street’s curvy design grew out of necessity. Until 1922 it was a little-used block with a cliff-like 27 percent grade. That year the city built the switchback-style design to reduce the grade to 16 percent.

At the site, the contractor, Ghilotti Brothers Construction Co., was selling old bricks _ authenticated _ for $55, with some of the proceeds going to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

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