They are part of the charm of this city and defy all laws of gravity. And of urbanism. They go in all directions, are of all lengths, all shapes. This is due both to the topography of San Francisco, mostly built on hills, and the clever minds of its civil engineers. Horses had to be accommodated and pedestrians had to navigate.
Hence, the sharp hairpin turns on Lombard Street that have inspired many indelible movies. Filbert Street is literally breath-taking with its gradient of 31.5%. The sidewalk is in fact a steep staircase. If you take the car, you need to park perpendicular to the curb, or the tow truck will be waiting. Mission Street has the record for length, at 11.5 kilometres. The widest is Van Ness Avenue at 38 metres. As for Harry Street, it has the greatest number of steps with a complete series of stairways. This climb between the gardens is lined with lovely houses.