We at the SFMTA want to help everyone in San Francisco park legally, and we know that reading the signs is half the battle. Follow these additional tips to minimize the chances of receiving a parking ticket. Local laws governing parking and traffic rules may be found in the San Francisco Transportation Code.
72 Hour Maximum
In the absence of other restrictions, such as permit zones, street sweeping, meters or posted time limits, you are allowed to park in one spot for up to 72 hours. Vehicles parked beyond the maximum limit may be issued a warning and be cited and/or towed, even if they have a permit to park in that area.
The programs intent is to eliminate cars that are being stored or abandoned on a public street. We request that you wait 72 hours (3 days) for the car to be parked at the same location, before requesting a service call. This ensures the prevention of harassment or abuses of the program. Excessive requests or calls deemed as harassment may lead to the suspension of service to the location as determined by the Vehicle Abatement Unit.
You can help neighbors and visitors avoid citations and being towed. Feel free to print and share this flyer: Remember to move your vehicle every 72 hours (PDF)
18 Inches from the Curb
When parking parallel (with the side of your car against the curb), make sure your wheels are within 18 inches of the curb.
Face the Flow of Traffic
Don't park against the flow of traffic. Your vehicle must face in the direction of the flow of traffic, even if it is otherwise parked legally.
Curb Your Tires on Hills
When you park (3% grade or more) angle your front wheels so if your vehicle were hit or its brakes were to fail, it would roll into the curb and not into traffic.
- On a sloping driveway, turn the wheels so the vehicle will not roll into the street. Set your parking brake.
- Headed downhill, turn your front wheels into the curb or toward the side of the road. Set your parking brake.
- Headed uphill, turn your front wheels away from the curb and let your vehicle roll back a few inches. The wheel should gently touch the curb. Set your parking brake.
- Headed either uphill or downhill when there is no curb, turn the wheels so the vehicle will roll away from the center of the road if your brakes fail.
- Always set your parking brake and leave the vehicle in gear or in “park” or “P” position.
You can confirm the grade of your street by going to the Department of Public Works (DPW) Street Grade Map. DPW Street Grade Map
- Follow DPW's instructions by entering the street name, limits/(cross street), keymap number, block number or block lot number.
- Press search.
- Under "Key Map Results" click on "grade".
- Allow your browser to open the map.
- On the map you will find your street's grade listed as a percent (%).
Check Your Bumpers
Check your front and rear bumpers to make sure they are not extending into a driveway, crosswalk or color zone.
2Meters, Street Sweeping & Permit Areas
Check for Signs
Always check for posted parking and street sweeping times. Look 100 feet in both directions for any sign. Please call 311 to report any defaced, deficient or missing parking signs.
Don't Park in the Same Place in Permit Areas
In permit areas you must move your vehicle after the posted time limit (typically 1 to 2 hours) if you don't have a permit. The law requires you to move one block away or at least one-tenth (1/10) of a mile—about 500 feet. Do not drive around and then park in the same block, or you can be ticketed!
Need a permit? A, Z, or any letter in between, here's the information on parking permits.
Parking is Allowed After Sweeping
Sweeping the streets keeps them clean, and street sweeping citations discourage vehicle owners from blocking the street sweeping truck's path. Once the street sweeping truck has swept the curbside, you may park your vehicle there, even if the posted sweeping hours have not expired.
Watch for Tow-Away Zones
Some parking zones become tow-away zones during commute hours. Check the meter face and posted signs for tow-away restrictions.
3Driveways, Sidewalks and Crosswalks
Give Driveway Owners Space to Get In and Out
A driveway begins at the top of the sloped edges, or the “curb cut.” Some driveways may have red tips—red curb coloring on the curb cuts and space adjacent to it. Parking in the red tip or within the cut curbs may result in your vehicle being cited and/or towed.
You can help neighbors and visitors avoid citations and being towed. Feel free to print and share this flyer: Thanks for supporting safe driving (PDF)
Park In Your Own Driveway
- You may park in your own driveway as long as no portion of your vehicle extends over the sidewalk or into the required setback.
- So please do not park on the sidewalk or within the required setback. San Francisco's Planning Department provides more information, including a list of common planning code violations. San Francisco Planning Code Violations
- Residents may park in front of their own driveway parallel to the curb or street, only if the vehicle’s license plate is registered to the building’s address, and if the building has two or fewer units.
- You can help neighbors and visitors avoid citations and being towed. Feel free to print and share this flyer: Thanks for keeping our sidewalks safe (PDF)
Watch for Crosswalks
It is illegal to park in any marked or unmarked crosswalks. Never block curb ramps located inside or adjacent to crosswalks. Leave at least three (3) feet of space between a curb ramp and your vehicle.
Parking with Disabled Placards
A disabled placard or license plate exempts a vehicle from parking time limits so long as the person to whom the placard is issued is being transported. Hang the disabled placard from the rear view mirror. Warning: Vehicles with placards cannot park more than 72 hours at one location.
You may display a disabled placard which has been issued from a different state or country. With a properly displayed disabled placard you may park in any of the following zones:
- Blue zones
- Meter zones without paying (Except for red or yellow-topped meters which are reserved for trucks and commercial vehicles as posted on the meter) (Many metered zones become tow away zones during commute hours and the disabled placard does not provide an exemption.)
- Green zones
- Residential Parking zones
- Areas with posted time limits (e.g. a one hour zone in a business district)
A disabled placard does NOT exempt the vehicle from all other citation and/or tow away rules and restrictions including, but not limited to street cleaning restrictions.
5How you can help
Give Others Room to Park
Maximize availability. In areas where there are not spaces marked by painted lines, pull as close to the vehicles in front or behind you as possible while leaving enough space (18 inches) for them to exit. And remember, motorcycles and small vehicles park too! This may be the reason for irregular space between parked cars.
Report Broken Meters and Faded Curbs
Where the curb has faded so badly as to be difficult to determine the curb color, there is a chance Enforcement might not cite vehicles for curb color violations. And while you may only park for the posted time limit at a broken meter, functioning meters guarantee better parking availability for everyone. Help us keep meters working and curb colors bright and up to date by calling 311.