Could you pass a driving test on this street?
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The Municipal Transportation Agency unanimously approved a pilot closure to vehicles on the oft-photographed, well-traveled curvy and winding thoroughfare. It will be for four consecutive weekends starting in late June and including the Fourth of July weekend during the summer tourist season. The vehicle closure does not apply to residents who live in the area.
About an average of 2,000 vehicles travel on the street each weekend day during that period, the city said.
Lombard Street is a world famous scenic, hilly street in San Francisco's Russian Hill neighborhood. It's been featured on TV, in movies and even video games. It is known for its one-block stretch of winding brick road that consists of eight sharp, hairpin turns.
Attracting hundreds of thousands annually, tourists prefer to take snapshot panoramic views of the city at the top and then drive down the crooked street with flower gardens at every corner like it's an amusement park ride. It is perhaps the most popular tourist destination in San Francisco besides the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, the Cable Cars and Fisherman's Wharf.
The temporary closing idea came after a steady stream of complaints by some residents. They want to curb the street's chronic gridlock mostly due to curious tourists, especially during the summer.
"This will be a test to improve the safety for residents, pedestrians and motorists in the area," MTA spokesman Paul Rose said. "There are often a lot of people who come to either take pictures or drive down the street and it can cause lengthy delays."
The city will evaluate what impact the temporary closure will have and may seek to shut down Lombard Street more often, Rose said. No permanent shutdown is being considered yet.
Critical thinking challenge: Why do residents of Lombard Street want it closed? How does the city benefit by keeping it open? Which is more important?