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‘SFMTA will not ticket for street sweeping,’ says mayor

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Everything you need to know about parking your vehicle during the San Francisco coronavirus closures

Cars parked on a hill in San Francisco. Yair Haklai

Update: Mayor London Breed decided to halt ticketing during the shelter-in-place order, making the announcement this afternoon.

She said, “[SFMTA] will not ticket for street sweeping through the end of the month. Tickets issued today will be waived. However, it is crucial that we still clean our streets to prevent trash buildup and local flooding,” so do please still move your cars even if there’s no penalty.

Earlier in the day, Supervisor Matt Haney complained via Twitter that people in his district were still being ticketed despite the circumstances.


While the shelter-in-place order, which will remain in effect until April 7, will upend life in San Francisco in the immediate future, one thing remains true: You must move your car during regular street sweeping or risk getting ticketed.

This was one of many burning questions facing the SF residents in the hours after Mayor London Breed and other city officials announced the order Monday.

For many vehicle owners, the risk of netting a sweeping-related ticket is a source of regular consternation, and with so few people driving anywhere in the coming weeks, street parking will become an even more complicated affair than usual in many neighborhoods.

According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), SF will maintain its regular street cleaning schedule, and SFMTA will maintain its regular enforcement and issuance of citations—rats. This falls under the agency’s enforcement of parking rules that impact health and safety. (The city of Los Angeles, for the record, has taken another route by halting tickets for street sweeping as closures ramp up.)

For anyone unsure about the schedule, the SF Planning Department has a searchable database.

Leaving the house to move your car does not violate the shelter-in-place rules, although you should employ “social distancing” guidelines when doing so and remain at least six feet away from anyone else, including neighbors on the same errand.

Other parking rules in the city remain in effect, including meter enforcement, transit and bike lanes, and car-free Market Street.

However, the city has suspended a few practices for the duration of the shelter-in-place order. Ordinarily, SF enforces a 72-hour parking rule (actually a state law) holding that a vehicle can only stay parked in the same spot for up to three days or risk being towed. That rule has been temporarily waived.

Similarly, the city has suspended rules about residential parking permits in relevant neighborhoods—to see which blocks are normally subject to permit restrictions, consult the map here.

The city normally enforces towing penalties on the busiest streets during peak business hours (these red-and-white signs indicate prohibited spots), but until the shelter-in-place order expires, there’s no penalty for parking in those spaces. And indeed, no such thing as peak hours anymore either.

In short, with most of the city rendered immobile for the next three weeks, parking has gotten slightly easier in SF, especially in some of the busiest areas—but the street sweepers still hold sway in the morning.