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Special Event Street Closures

SFMTA.com/StreetClosures
Drive & Park
Business Permit
Children playing at a Play Streets block party

 

 

 

 

Special Events

Special events and other community gatherings are an important part of the fabric of life in San Francisco, contributing not only economically, but also socially, and such contributions are more important than ever in supporting our city and our communities. If you have questions about putting on a special event—ranging from a party for you and your neighbors to a large commercial event—feel free to reach out to us early in the planning phase for help with what's involved with a street closure, how to structure your event best to meet requirements and manage costs, and other matters.

Applying for a Street Closure

The first step to holding your block party, festival, farmers' market, street fair, athletic event or other fun activity on the streets of San Francisco is a Temporary Street Closure Application.

(For closures related to construction as opposed to an event, please apply for a Special Traffic Permit.)

Once your complete application has been reviewed by our staff, your event may be scheduled to go before the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation (ISCOTT) for review by City departments that manage event related activities and permits. Approval will be given at an ISCOTT hearing.

If you are looking to apply for a "Shared Spaces" permit for a daily or weekly recurring street closure or for a parklet, please see the Shared Spaces website.


 

How the Temporary Street Closure Permitting Process Works

Every year the SFMTA, as administrator of an interdepartmental committee established by the Board of Supervisors, helps bring more than 600 special events to city streets, ranging from afternoon block parties and community street fairs to major closures for conferences and for large athletic events like Bay to Breakers. In addition to permitting, we do behind-the-scenes work necessary to temporarily shut off traffic for your event, such as rerouting transit service and deploying traffic enforcement personnel to make sure your event goes off without a hitch. In addition, you will be assisted in obtaining other City permits that might be necessary for your event — for tents, food service, amplified sound, and so on. If you have any questions before you apply, don't hesitate to ask. We are here to help. If this is your first time planning an event, we encourage you to email or call to discuss your ideas early in the planning process, well before you are actually ready to submit an application. We can help you structure an event that will meet your goals and expectations while minimizing costs and impacts. As well, not all combinations of dates and locations can be permitted; inquiring early may avoid disappointment.

30 days prior to the event is the deadline to submit an application for most events. However, we strongly encourage everyone to apply 4 to 6 months in advance, and applications can be submitted even earlier than that, up to a year prior to the planned event.

Most additional City permits and processes require a minimum of 2 or 3 weeks to complete, and your application may require you to address other requirements, such as providing barricades, portable toilets or, for larger events, insurance, a medical plan and/or monitored bicycle parking. Because these can take some time to arrange, for applications submitted at the 30-day deadline, it may not be possible to complete all the necessary tasks in time, and you may have to cancel the event or significantly alter your plans.

After your application is accepted and any key questions resolved, it will be scheduled for review by the Committee at a public hearing (conducted online/remotely). You may be required to conduct community outreach and post public notices prior to this hearing. If your application is approved, you will receive a permit by email within about two weeks of the hearing.


     

    Apply for Temporary Special Event Street Closure Permits

     

    Neighborhood Block Party Street Closure

    A block party is a resident-led, free and open to the neighborhood event — a great way to get to know your neighbors and play safely in the street. The applicant should be a resident on the block to be closed or a pre-existing neighborhood association.

    • Applications must be received at least 30 days prior to the event date.
    • Single-day, one-block, residential street closure.
    • No impact to transit service.
    • Non-commercial. No admission fees and no sale of goods or services.

    As part of your application, you will be asked to submit a site plan showing the layout of your proposed activities in the street. Simple block parties that will have no physical objects on the street or sidewalk may not require this.

    In most cases, block parties will require few if any additional City permits and the only requirement will be the provisioning of street closure barricades. Simple, annual block parties with no history of issues will not require participation in the public hearing.

    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

    We are not currently accepting applications sent via regular post or email. Please apply using the online form; a link will be emailed to you for payment of the application fee.

    Apply Online 


     

    Special Event Street Closure

    Special Events are all other events that are not residential block parties. They can be community, non-profit, private, or commercial events including but not limited to street fairs, road races or other athletic events, conferences, and music festivals.

    • Applications must be received at least 30 days prior to the closure date to be considered.
      • Street Fair applications must be received at least 90 days prior to the closure date.
      • It will not be possible for many larger events to complete all the necessary tasks within 30 days.
    • May include multiple blocks and intersections, in residential and non-residential areas.
    • May impact Muni service, though such impacts can incur significant additional costs.
    • May sell goods and services.

    As part of a complete application, you will need to submit a detailed written description of the event, as well as a site plan showing the layout of all objects and activities planned for the public right of way, accurate and to scale and sufficiently detailed to allow for staff assessment. Most larger events will need to submit additional written plans for things like waste management and staffing, and events with alcohol may need to complete a security plan. Larger events may require an approved emergency medical plan and that process typically takes at least 60 days.

    (If you are a community serving entity looking to do a small, simple, non-commercial event, you may be eligible to apply for a special event permit at a reduced fee. We will assess your eligibility when reviewing your complete application.)

    Plan ahead! The earlier you apply, the cheaper the application fee:

    Application Received Jul 1, 2023—Jun 30, 2024 fee
    120+ days before event $ 1200
    90-120 days before event** $ 1500
    60-89 days before event $ 1800
    30-59 days before event $ 2200

    ** Street Fair applications must be received at least 90-days prior to the closure date

    We are not currently accepting applications sent via regular post or email. Please apply using the online form; a link will be emailed to you for payment of the application fee.

    Apply Online


     

    What You Need to Know about the ISCOTT Hearing

    • 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month
      • Exceptions: hearings are held on the 2nd Thursday in November only, and on the 1st & 3rd Thursdays in December.
    • Hearings are conducted virtually/online (on Microsoft Teams), and typically last about an hour. While you can call in, participation via computer/the internet works better and is recommended.
    • Simple, annual events may not require participation in the hearing.
    • The Committee is made up of the following City departments: SFMTA (chair), San Francisco Police Department, Public Works, Public Health, San Francisco Fire Department, Planning and Entertainment Commission. Other agencies attend as non-voting participants.
    • It is a public hearing; community members are welcome. There is a period at the beginning for the public to raise matters that are within the Committee's purview, but are not on the day's agenda.
    • Agendas are posted online and sent to applicants one week prior to the ISCOTT date.
    • Applicants typically give a brief (1-2 minute) synopsis of their event purpose, location, and activities, and then respond to any questions from the Committee and the public.
    • After the Committee and members of the public have commented, the Committee votes to approve or deny the event.
    • You may leave/log off after the Committee has voted on your item.
    • Follow-up correspondence will be provided via e-mail. Permits for approved events are emailed out within about two weeks of the hearing.

    For further information about conducting special events on City streets, please contact SpecialEvents@sfmta.com