Block Party Street Closure Application
Block party street closure applications are reviewed by a committee. The SFMTA chairs the Committee and manages permit applications. The other members are the Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works, Public Health, the Entertainment Commission, and Planning. The City staff on the Committee are responsible for the things special events can need. These are things like food service, fires and emergency response, security, street cleaning, and outdoor sound.
Submit your application at least 30 days before the proposed block party. Earlier is better, though, especially for events with more going on. In some cases it will not be possible for you to finish necessary additional permits and processes within 30 days. Your application may not be heard and a permit issued until just before the event if you apply close to the 30 day deadline. Apply early.
You can get advice from SFMTA Special Events staff when you are planning your block party. They can let you know about any issues with what you want to do, and any extra permits and costs you might be looking at. In particular, bounce houses (jumpy castles) may not be possible if your street is too narrow.
A neighborhood block party is a one-block closure on a residential street. Applicants should be a resident of the block or a neighborhood resident association. Block parties should not impact buses or cause traffic circulation issues. Additional restrictions apply, including the following:
- Maximum of 8 hours between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm.
- Maximum of 200 people, or the most the space can safely accommodate, whichever is less.
- Open alcohol container laws apply.
- No vendors or commercial activities.
- BBQ/grilling is allowable, but we prefer that it be located on private property.
- A bounce house is allowable but will not be possible in many locations.
- Food truck allowable.
- No advertising or promotion beyond the immediate neighborhood.
- Tents should be limited to simple 10x10 pop-ups.
- No stages.
- Sidewalks must remain open and unobstructed.
- Crosswalks can't be obstructed and no intersections can be closed.
- Regulation barricades are required for all street closures and are not supplied by the City.
(If you want to do something more complicated than is allowed for neighborhood block parties, you might consider applying for a regular special event. If what you want to put on is a small community event and has no commercial sales or business promotion aspect, it might be eligible as a reduced fee community event. Fees for those aren't much more than for a neighborhood block party. And the only real difference in permit conditions would be the City's "smoke free" event requirement. But the limitations on where bounce houses can fit would still apply.)
You may request “no parking" for some or all of the block. It may be necessary in some cases, depending on the size of the street and what you are planning. (Bounce houses may need “no parking” to make enough space on the street.) There is a cost associated with this that can run to hundreds of dollars. The cost depends on the number of signs that are posted. You have to make the request at least two weeks in advance of the closure date. Posting the street as “no parking” is not a good idea for most block parties. We especially want to avoid any situation where residents' cars might get towed. Instead, we encourage applicants to pursue informal options. Plan an event that doesn’t need much, if any, “no parking” posting. Circulate flyers on the block a couple times in the week beforehand to ask people to move their cars for the event.
You will need to keep some local access, even if there is "no parking." You have to allow cars left on the street after the closure starts to leave. You should escort them through the event and out through the barricades for safety. But you should not allow cars onto the street to park after it's closed, even if it's not posted as "no parking." After all, it is a closed street. You do have to allow cars in or out for any off-street parking (garages and lots). So you cannot block driveways in use with your event. Again, you should escort these cars through the event for safety.
Note that the permit for a block party is just to close the street and does not change other City (or State or Federal) regulations. You may need other permits (with other fees) depending on the activities at your event. But a typical block party should not need anything beyond the street closure permit. Generally, a sound/entertainment permit is the only other permit a block party might need.
How to File Application:
You can submit your applications online using the link at the bottom of this page. (Currently, we are not able to accept applications sent by email or post.)
Plan ahead! The earlier you apply, the cheaper the application fee.
|Application Received||Jul 1, 2023—Jun 30, 2024 fee|
|120+ days before event||$ 52|
|90-120 days before event||$ 52|
|60-89 days before event||$ 110|
|30-59 days before event||$ 225|
All fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable (so you can't switch to another date after the event is scheduled for a hearing). We will send you an email with a link to pay the fee online after we take a first look at your application. If you need to pay with a check or money order, or if a City office is going to pay your application fee, let us know right away by email. You have to pay the fee for the application to be complete. If the fee is not submitted on time, we may reject your application. If you reapply, or we reopen your application, you may have to pay a higher fee.
A complete application will include:
- Online application
- Application fee
- Site plan / detailed diagram of event layout
If you do not submit a complete application, with the site plan and the fee, we may reject your application. And if you do not answer any follow-up questions, we also may reject your application.
You will need to submit a site plan/diagram as part of your application. The site plan should show the entire block you want to close. It should include all the objects and stuff you are planning on putting in the street. You should show any tables, popup tents, large game equipment, barbecues, and/or bounce houses. You can use maps, computer drawing programs, or hand drawings to create the site plan. It just has to show all the required elements, reasonably to scale and with their dimensions. And it has to have enough accuracy and detail for City staff review.
You will need to show the following on the site plan:
- A 14-foot emergency access clear zone running straight through the closure — free of any objects, though people can be in it (for things like games, dancing, and sports).
- Barricades at both ends of the block.
- Bounce house, if any, with dimensions, to scale, and where it will be set up.
- 10x10 tents shown, if any, to scale and where they will be set up.
- Areas in which you will set up any objects, such as tables or barbecues, with dimensions. (We don't need tables and chairs shown individually - just outline the area they'll be in.)
- Location(s) of safety monitors.
- Anything else to be placed in the street or on the sidewalk.
Make sure to label all elements of the site plan. Include areas that will have local access during the event. If you will be requesting any “no parking” posting, please show where.
You need to keep an unobstructed path of the travel for pedestrians on the sidewalks. Accessibility ramps, crosswalks and intersections should not have any objects placed in them.
Please review our Site Plan Guidelines for a more detailed discussion of requirements and issues.
City staff from different agencies will review your application. They may request more information or revisions. Your application is then scheduled for a public hearing. At the hearing, the Committee will vote on approval. If approved, we will send you a permit by email.
ISCOTT hearing notices are posted on blocks to be closed at least 7 days in advance of the public hearing. In most cases, the applicant does the posting with a notice provided by SFMTA Special Events. You will be responsible for providing a declaration that you have done the posting. We may also ask you to provide supporting photos.
Generally, block parties that have been the same for a couple years will not have to post hearing notices. For new block parties, or ones where there have been issues, we may ask you to do extra outreach. Usually, this is nothing more than a signature survey, which you would do before the hearing.
You also will be responsible for removing the notices after the hearing. You will need to provide a declaration that you have done so.
SFMTA Special Events staff will schedule your application for a public hearing. They will notify all applicants at least a week in advance. It’s generally possible for an applicant to select a hearing date that works for their schedule.
Simple, recurring events may be put on the Consent Calendar. Applicants for those events will not need to attend the hearing, but of course are welcome.
The committee holds hearings on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of most months. (Due to the holidays, the only hearing in November is on the 2nd Thursday. In December, hearings take place on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays.) Hearings are online/virtual (using Microsoft Teams); telephone access/participation is also possible.
The hearings typically last around one to one-and-a-half hours. It is a public hearing, and members of the community and anyone wishing to comment on an application are welcome. High profile events may attract more public comment, and this can extend the time of the meeting. Applicants give a brief (1-3 minute) synopsis of their event, location, and activities. The Committee may ask some questions. Then the public also can ask questions. After this discussion, the Committee votes on approval.
Notification of the Decision
The minutes of the public hearing are posted online. A copy is also sent to all applicants showing the Committee’s decision. If your application is approved, you will get a permit letter via email.
- You will be responsible for complying with all the conditions listed in the permit.
- The street closure permit does not exempt you from any requirements of City, State or Federal laws.
- By accepting a permit, you agree to indemnify the City against claims arising from the event.
There may be charges or fees from other City departments. This depends on activities conducted or services required.
Once you have read all of the above information and referenced additional material...