Merchants, Residents or Businesses who want to perform work on city streets or sidewalks should get a permit from DPW first. DPW issues permits to construct, improve, work on or occupy the city's sidewalks and roadways. DPW's permit types include permits for banners, tree planting and removal, driveway cuts, general excavation, landscaping and others.
The SF Better Streets Plan provides a blueprint for the future of San Francisco’s pedestrian environment. It describes a vision, creates design guidelines, and identifies next steps to create a truly great pedestrian realm. In order to implement the BSP, the DPW reviews permit applications for various sidewalk and roadway uses, and encroachments.
The plan seeks to balance the needs of all street users, and reflects the understanding that the pedestrian environment is about much more than just transportation—that streets serve a multitude of social, recreational and ecological needs that must be considered when deciding on the most appropriate design. Visit the Merchant’s Corner and Neighborhood Beautification section for more information on the permitting process for the SF Better Streets Plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Other Resources and Requirements
Permit Applications are available online, by fax, by mail and others are available only over the counter at:
Department of Public Works
Bureau of Street Use and Mapping
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103 Map
Permit Processing Hours : 7:30A-4:00P, Monday-Friday
General Office Hours : 7:30A-5:00P, Monday-Friday
If you occupy the public right-of-way or complete work without a permit, you will be subject to fines of up to $10,000 per day. All permits issued by DPW are revocable at the will of the Director of the Public Works. All permits issued are subject to inspection and shall be constructed per approved plans and to City specifications. All encroachments and constructions shall be maintained by the permittee and/or the owner of the fronting property.
Hold Harmless Clause
Permittee agrees on their behalf and that of any successor or assignee to hold harmless, defend, and indemnify the City and County of San Francisco. The Hold Harmless Clause is included in every permit issued by DPW.
Under the general requirements of any Street Use Permit, the permittee must maintain a safe pedestrian walkway with a minimum width of four feet clear at all times. A greater walkway width may be required in areas with greater pedestrian traffic and for non-residential areas.