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Special Event Street Closure Application

Read the following information then use the link at the bottom to apply

Overview

Applications for temporary street closures for special events are reviewed by the Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation (ISCOTT) which is chaired by SFMTA and managed by SFMTA Special Events staff.

(Applications for events in City parks, including on streets within parks, are handled by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. Events on Port of San Francisco property require a permit from the Port; events on streets within Port jurisdiction require permits from both Port and ISCOTT.)

Complete applications must be received at least 30 days prior to the proposed event. However, please note that in some cases it will not be possible for you to finish all the necessary additional permits and processes within 30 days. Apply early.

For many events, especially new or larger ones, it may be helpful to consult with ISCOTT/SFMTA Special Events staff in the preliminary planning stage, to get a sense of what’s possible, what permits and costs might be involved, and what information you will need to apply.

Eligibility

Neighborhood Block Parties

For Neighborhood Block Party (applications, please apply here

Community Non-Profit Events

Community Non-Profit Event permits are intended for small- to medium-sized events, sponsored by community serving non-profits and similar entities, that bring the community together for celebrations and activities and that are free and open to the public. Eligible events can apply for special event street closure permits at a reduced fee. Please email us at SpecialEvents@sfmta.com with a detailed description of the planned event, including proposed location, all activities, and expected attendance, and we will assess your eligibility.

Street Fairs

Street fairs are larger community events, sponsored by a community, neighborhood, or merchant association, and designed to celebrate and support the community in which they occur. Examples include the Haight Ashbury Street Fair, the Castro Street Fair, and the North Beach Festival. They can – and typically do – involve closures of more than 5 blocks, with closed intersections, signification traffic circulation impacts, and reroutes of transit services. The street fair must be free and open to the public. Street fairs are eligible for caps on some City charges.

Applications for street fairs must be submitted at least 90 days in advance. However, because of the scope and complexity of street fairs, potential additional permits and processes involved, and demands they make on City agencies for review and staffing, if you are considering applying for a new street fair, you should contact us well in advance – at least six months – to discuss feasibility and logistics.

General Special Events

Special event applications may be submitted by any person or entity, and may be for events of any size, closing any number of blocks, with or without impacts to public transit or traffic circulation. The more complex or impactful the event, the more time may be needed for proper review by City and other agencies, and the greater the costs associated with additional permits, City services, etc. required for the event. It may be challenging, even impossible, to complete the review and additional processes required for large events if the application is not submitted well in advance of the proposed event date. We will accept an application provided it is submitted at least 30 days in advance and attempt to process it for approval, but note that the application fee is non-refundable and non-transferrable.

ISCOTT/SFMTA Special Events staff are happy to consult with you to structure an event that fulfills your goals while limiting as much as possible the costs and additional permits and processes required.

Athletic Events

This category is intended primarily for larger road races – foot or bicycle – that traverse a large number of blocks. Smaller, contained sports/athletic events, such as skateboarding exhibitions and contests, outdoor rock-climbing activities, etc. may be treated as regular special events. Road races have expanded public outreach/notification requirements and typically require significantly more time to review. Athletic events typically require insurance and an approved emergency medical plan; medical plans can take two months to complete.

New road races – or significant changes to existing ones – may require approval by the Board of Supervisors. If you are interested in holding a new road race or similarly impactful athletic event, please contact us at least 6 months in advance to discuss.

FilmSF Projects

Film and still photography shoots with permits issued by or in progress with FilmSF may apply for a Special Event Street Closure. Some normal permit requirements – such as insurance and arrangements for security – are met as part of FilmSF permitting, but in general all special event permit requirements and conditions apply. Consult with FilmSF before applying for a street closure for your proposed project.

Filing Applications

How to File Application:

Applications should be filed online via the link at the bottom of the page.

Currently, we are not accepting printed applications, whether sent by postal mail or hand-delivered, or by PDF application forms sent via email.

Filing Fees:

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

Application Received Jul 1, 2022—Jun 30, 2023 fee Jul 1, 2023—Jun 30, 2024 fee
120+ days before event $ 1,150 $ 1,200
90-120 days before event* $ 1,400 $ 1,500
60-89 days before event $ 1,700 $ 1,800
30-59 days before event $ 2,100 $ 2,200

* Street Fair applications are due at least 90 days in advance of the event

Some smaller events by community-serving non-profits and similar organizations may qualify for a reduced application fee. Please email us at SpecialEvents@sfmta.com with a detailed description, including expected attendance and a description of all activities, of the planned event and we will assess your eligibility. However, note that a complete application will still need to be submitted before the deadline; you may find it simpler to submit a complete application and then simply pay the fee at either the regular or reduced rate depending on our assessment.

All fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable. You will be sent a link to make payment online after your application is received. If you need to pay with a check or money order, or payment is being made by transfer from a City agency, please notify us in response to the fee email. Payment must be received for an application to be complete – applications without payment are incomplete and beyond an initial intake review will not be processed until payment is received. If payment is not submitted promptly, your application may be rejected or a new application fee may be assessed.

Complete Applications

A complete application will include:

  1. Complete online application
  2. Application fee
  3. Site plan / detailed diagram of event layout
  4. A detailed write-up of event including, as applicable, general description, narrative/run of show, waste management plan, description of planned outreach. (Additional information may be required depending on the nature of the event and activities planned.)

Failure to complete the application fully including compliance with all requirements and inclusion of all drawings and other material required as well as signing the application (if printed) and payment of the application fee may result in rejection of the application in full.

Site Plan

The required site plan should consist of a to-scale drawing(s) showing the street, sidewalk, stages, booths, fencing, barricades, and any other objects placed within the requested closure area and include the following, as applicable:

  1. All streets to be closed – accurate and to scale, and including features such as parklets, sidewalk bulb-outs, transit islands, bike share stations, and curb cuts/off-street parking access.
  2. Emergency access lane (14 feet minimum; wider may be required) running straight through all closed blocks.
  3. Number and location of booths, with food and/or beverage booths clearly indicated.
  4. Stages (with ramps shown) and tents, if any.
  5. Beer gardens or other alcohol sales areas, if any.
  6. Number, location, and type of recycling and refuse containers.
  7. Portable toilets (and hand washing stations), including those which are ADA compliant.
  8. Any fencing.
  9. Space for monitored bicycle parking (for events with 2000 or more attendees).
  10. Any other physical objects that will be placed on the street or sidewalk.
  11. Muni routes, transit shelters and bus stops.
  12. Manhole and utility covers in the street.

Site plans should also show fire hydrants and, if any objects are to be placed on the sidewalk, standpipes, building entrances/exits, and fire escapes. Obstruction of any of these fire safety infrastructure elements cannot be permitted.

There should be an unobstructed path of the travel for pedestrians on the sidewalks, and accessibility ramps and crosswalks may not be occupied or obstructed. Substantive sidewalk impacts may require a Temporary Occupancy permit from Public Works

Crosswalks and intersections may not have any objects placed in them.

Events that plan to request any “no parking” posting outside the area of the street closure should include a map indicating the curb faces that will be requested. Note that “no parking” must also be requested for the area of the street closure, if needed, and that there is a cost associated with this service separate from the application fee. A single “no parking” request is typically submitted after approval of the street closure, covering all the space within the closure and any additional space outside it required to support the event. Other elements that may require “no parking” posting include: taxi zone; white zones for passenger drop off and pick; and temporary blue zones. SFMTA staff will work with you to identify these needs and suitable locations as part of the review of your application. Note that “no parking” may not be requested for parking for event staff or attendees.

Please review our Site Plan Guidelines for a more detailed discussion of requirements and issues.

Written Description

The required written description should provide sufficient information for the event to be evaluated and other required permits or approvals identified. All event descriptions should address the following:

  1. “Run of show” listing the times for set-up, event activities, and breakdown/clean-up.
  2. Staffing – for barricades, security, cleaning, etc.
  3. Public/private – whether the event is free and open to the public; ticketed (whether or not tickets or free); or private/restricted (e.g., to organization members only, etc.).
  4. Whether there will be any entertainment, music, or amplified sound.
  5. If alcohol is being served, details on what is being served, by whom, and what license arrangements will be pursued.
  6. Security arrangements – overall security plan, including number of staff assigned to function, and name of security company if applicable.
  7. Estimate of attendance and of crowd capacity of space; arrangements for when event nears capacity.
  8. Waste management and recycling plan.
  9. Proposed outreach plan to inform residents and businesses on the block(s) to be closed, and other impacted stakeholders, of your request to close the street. Outreach is generally best conducted after applying and consultation with ISCOTT/SFMTA Special Events staff, but if some outreach has already been done, describe as part of the event write.
  10. Water plan – San Francisco legislation restricts the sale or distribution of packaged water at ISCOTT-permitted events with more than 100 attendees. Most events that are not either athletic or dance parties will not require any water plan.

Complete specifics on security, alcohol, waste management, water, etc. will likely not be available at the time of application. However, initial plans or an outline should be included. Final details can be developed during the application review process or after a street closure permit is granted – provided there are no substantive changes to the event, and that a revised description and site plan (if layout of event changes) are submitted to SFMTA Special Events in sufficient time for review and approval before the date of the event.

In many cases, applicants will not be sure of some of the other details or requirements – such as how many porta-potties will be needed or if a water plan or monitored bicycle parking is appropriate. ISCOTT/SFMTA Special Event staff can assist in fleshing out these issues either before an application is submitted or during the review process. In some cases, this will require producing a new site plan – for instance, if monitored bicycle parking is required, but was not shown in the originally submitted site plan; or if a larger emergency access lane is needed.

Review Process

Overview

Applications are subject to review by City staff from multiple agencies who may request additional information or revisions. Requests for temporary street closures then typically are scheduled for review by ISCOTT at a public hearing. A recommendation for approval or disapproval will be made by the Committee, along with any conditions deemed necessary for the event, and this recommendation will be forwarded to the Director of the SFMTA, and – if approved – a permit issued (via email).

Public Notice

ISCOTT hearing notices are posted on blocks to be closed at least 7 days in advance of the public hearing. In most cases, the posting will be done by the applicant with a notice provided by SFMTA Special Events. The applicant is responsible for the removal of the posted public hearing notices after the hearing. A declaration and supporting photos must be submitted for the posting, and a declaration for the removal. If the request is not approved, the applicant will still be required to remove the notices.

Major athletic events – such as marathons and similar road races – and other large or particularly impactful events may be required to conduct extensive outreach to community and neighborhood groups in advance of the public hearing. Major athletic events also are required to do an additional round of public notification a minimum of 72 hours in advance of the event itself. Streets to be closed for athletic events should indicate if parking will or will not be impacted because of the event.

Other events may be required to perform additional outreach as determined by ISCOTT staff. For new events with a significant impact, a postal mailing to all addresses in the impacted area may be required.

Public Hearing

The hearing date will be scheduled by ISCOTT staff. All applicants will be notified at least one week in advance. It’s generally possible for an applicant to select a hearing date that works for their schedule. All interested parties are encouraged to attend.

Simple events on blocks with no past history of concerns, and recurring events that have not generated complaints or issues previously may be placed on the Consent Calendar. Their applicants will not need to attend the hearing, but of course are welcome.  

Hearings are held on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month (except November and December) at 9am at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, 7th Floor. (Due to the holidays, hearings are held on the 2nd Thursday only in November, and on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays in December.) Currently, all hearings are online/virtual only using Microsoft Teams; telephone access/participation is also possible.

The hearings typically last around 1-1.5 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 (1-5 minute) synopsis of their event, location, and activities, and respond to any Committee questions. After the Committee and members of the public have commented and questions have been addressed, the Committee votes to approve or deny the event.

The Committee is comprised of representatives of the following City agencies: SFMTA, Police, Fire, Public Works, Public Health, the Entertainment Commission, and the Planning Department. These represent offices that are responsible for reviewing, managing, and permitting activities that are typically associated with special events held on City streets, such as food vending, security, cleaning, outdoor sound, and the like.

Notification of the Decision

The Minutes of the public hearing are posted online and a copy sent to all applicants showing the Committee’s decision. If approved, the applicant will receive a permit letter via email within about 10 business days of the hearing if all required materials have been submitted and fees paid. Copies are sent to various City agencies and other impacted entities, as applicable.

IMPORTANT

  • The permittee is responsible for reading their permit in full and complying with all conditions and regulations listed in the permit and any accompanying material.
  • It is the permittee’s responsibility to comply with all State and Federal laws and disability access requirements applicable to the event. Compliance with the City’s permit requirements does not exempt the permittee from any requirements that may be imposed by State or Federal laws.
  • By acceptance of an ISCOTT permit, the permittee agrees to indemnify, hold harmless and assume the defense of the City and County of San Francisco from and against any and all claims, demands and actions for damages resulting from work under this permit, regardless of the negligence of City and County of San Francisco.

There may be charges or fees from City departments, beyond the permit application fee, depending on activities being conducted or services required, including Muni, Fire, Public Works, Public Health, Police, SFMTA Enforcement, and the Entertainment Commission. Please check with the appropriate agencies as to their current fee schedule for services/permits. (Some events may require additional permitting or review by other agencies, such as Caltrans, the National Park Service, and the Presidio Trust; this is rare and mostly occurs with large road races that traverse the jurisdictions of multiple agencies.) Invoices for City charges are typically sent out a month after the event.

Conditions

General

By submitting a request for a street closure, the applicant agrees to abide by the conditions of San Francisco Transportation Code Article 6, Sec. 6.7 during the entire event, as well as other conditions.

Insurance

Permittees for street fairs, major events, and other events as determined by ISCOTT shall be required to provide an insurance policy naming the City as an additional insured, in a form approved by the City’s Office of Risk Management. Generally, events wait until after review and approval to obtain insurance, which is not required for all events. However, certificates of insurance, in format and with insurers satisfactory to the City evidencing all applicable coverages, must be furnished to the City not less than 10 working days prior to the date of the event and before commencing any operations under the permit, otherwise the permit will be revoked. Apply early to give yourself time to obtain the necessary insurance after the permit is issued.

Smoking / Tobacco

All permittees (except for those holding a neighborhood block party) shall comply with the requirements of San Francisco Health Code Article 19L, "Prohibiting Smoking at Certain Outdoor Events."

The event producer shall notify the public that the event is smoke-free by meeting the following conditions:

  1. All electronic or print promotional materials, including but not limited to website, email and social media, print advertisements, radio, television, newspaper, media, shall state that this is a smoke free event per SF Health Code, Article 19L.
  2. Each event shall have at least one “No Smoking” sign at each point of entry and exit.
  3. Events with amplified sound must make an announcement at the start and at least one announcement every two hours at each stage during an event that it is a smoke free event.

Violations will impact consideration of any future application for street closures.

Per San Francisco Health Code Article 19N, the use of electronic cigarettes (vaping, etc.) is also prohibited. Note that these conditions and restrictions apply to the smoking or vaping of any substance.

The placement of tobacco advertising and promotional displays in publicly visible locations is strictly prohibited by San Francisco Police Code Section 674. In addition, the placement of tobacco advertising and promotional displays on property owned or controlled by the City and County is prohibited by San Francisco Administrative Code Section 4.20. Any violation of either of these ordinances during your event could result in the revocation of the street closure permit.

Zero Waste

All events must comply with City zero waste policies. The Department of Environment offers periodic online training for people who are or want to conduct events on meeting the City’s waste management goals. Larger events will typically hire an “event greener” for waste management.

Packaged Water

The sale and distribution of containers of water is prohibited by San Francisco Environment Code, Chapter 24 at ISCOTT permitted events with more than 100 participants. Packaged water is defined as water in a sealed box, bag, can, glass bottle, rigid plastic bottle or other container and having a capacity of one liter or less. This condition does not apply to water provided to participants in “Participant Athletic Events” – road races, marathons, etc. – but such events are still barred from selling packaged water to spectators.

Most events permitted via ISCOTT will not require water to be provided for attendees. If water is deemed important for public safety and well-being at your event, you will be required to submit a plan for how it will be provided in compliance with the condition barring the sale and distribution of packaged water. If you are unable to meet this condition, the Department of Environment may grant a waiver.

Temporary Blue Zones

After ISCOTT approval of a street closure application, the permit applicant must request temporary blue zone(s), as determined by SFMTA Special Events, through the SFMTA Temporary Sign Shop, typically as part of a request for the post of “no parking” areas for the event. The costs for the posting of these spaces will be charged.

There are limitations on where temporary blue zones can be created. Determining the precise location(s) can be done after approval of the special event permit.

Failure to comply with any of the terms of the temporary blue zone policy may result in denial of future temporary street closings by the permit applicant.

Monitored Bicycle Parking at Public Events

Monitored bicycle parking may be required for events with an anticipated number of participants greater than 2000 per day. Monitored bicycle parking should be provided for at least 1% of your expected daily participants. The minimum amount of space required for each bicycle is 6 feet long and 1 3/4 feet in width, so an average parking space will fit 10 bicycles. The monitored bicycle parking should be located within a one block radius of a regular entrance to the event. Possible locations are school yards, on-street parking spaces, garages or parking lots. The permittee may charge a small fee which would cover the cost of providing this service. All event publicity should include information on the monitored bicycle parking – its availability, location and cost.

Emergency Medical Services Plan

There is a requirement for a Special Event Medical Plan for all major events and athletic events permitted via ISCOTT. For more information, please see https://sf.gov/step-by-step/create-event-medical-plan

ISCOTT and the Department of Emergency Management will determine if a Medical Plan is required for your event. If so, ideally you should aim to submit the plan at least two months prior to the event. Any event that has not had its medical plan approved at least a week prior to the event may have its permit for a street closure revoked.

Medical plans typically require that events hire EMTs, ambulances, and/or other medical assets. Costs for these should be considered when planning your event. Ambulances and EMTs may not be available on the proposed date of your event, particularly if other events requiring these medical assets have already been scheduled.

Other Permits and Conditions

Depending on the types of activities planned, the applicant may be required to meet other conditions and/or get permits from other agencies, including but not limited to the San Francisco Fire Department, the Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Police Department, the Entertainment Commission, and/or Public Works, as well as, potentially, other City, regional, and state agencies. Most applications for Fire Department, Public Health Department, and Entertainment Commission permits required for special events must be filed at least 10 working days before the event. Other permits may have earlier deadlines. An application for a street closure submitted at or near the deadline of 30 days prior to the event may not have sufficient time to complete all other required permitting processes before the event, leading to the event needing to cancel at the last minute. Apply early.

Once you have read all of the above information and referenced additional material...

Apply Online 

Contact Information
SFMTA Special Events