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Establishing Street Names

glasses on map2Street names are generally established during the development / subdivision of land.  Renaming Streets can be initiated by members of the public or the Board of Supervisors. 

If a member of the public initiates the request, they must present their petition to DPW with signatures from property owners whose lots are abutting the subject street.   The number of signatures must indicate a very strong majority in favor of the change.  If the proposed name change affects a “private” street, the “Home Owner’s Association” (if applicable) may require pre-approval according to their own By-Laws.  

DPW will review and investigate the proposal.   This may include mailing an inquiry to all owners of record on the street for an official response to the proposed name change.  DPW may also solicit comments from the Fire and Police Departments.   If all indicators are very positive, DPW will prepare a resolution to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors, together with the results of their investigation.  The fee for DPW’s investigation is based on the actual time taken, which generally does not exceed $1,000.  Name changes similar to the change of Army Street to Cesar Chavez Street could cost much more.  DPW requires a deposit of 50 % of the estimated fee at the time of application.  

Process for Changing a Street Name

Changing the name of a street requires:

  • The resolution referred to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors 
  • A Public Hearing at the Land Use and Economic Development Committee
  • Board of Supervisors approval                                                                                                                                                    
  • Mayor’s signature

The Clerk of the Board sends the approved resolution back to the County Clerk and the County Surveyor at DPW where the approved name change is added to the “Official City Map.”  The name changing process for other jurisdictions, such as the Port or Recreation and Park Department may vary.                                                                                                                               

Once the street name has been officially changed, the street signs must contain both names for a five-year period.          

For more information about Establishing Street Names or Renaming Streets, contact us at:

The Department of Public Works
Bureau of Street-Use and Mapping
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor (Map)
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 554-5827
Fax: (415) 554-5324

Last updated: 3/15/2013 2:53:00 PM