The standard sidewalk in San Francisco consists of traditional concrete material. Where requested and approved, special, non-standard, material may be used to help improve the look and feel of your neighborhood by emphasizing public spaces. Special sidewalks can also act as a functional storm water amenity by helping to reduce storm water runoff if designed as permeable paving, which is a part of the SF Better Streets Plan. Click here to see greening options for your sidewalk.
A Special Sidewalk Surface Permit grants permission to replace standard concrete sidewalk with alternative paving materials. A permit is required to ensure that sidewalk paving is properly constructed and maintained in order to maximize environmental benefits, protect public safety and limit conflicts with infrastructure.
Select surface materials with low maintenance requirements and high durability, slip-resistance and compressive strength. In order for a surface material to be approved, a coefficient of friction must be provided by the project applicant, using the ASTM C-1028 testing method and producing a minimum coefficient of friction of 0.65 under wet and dry conditions (0.80 on sloped surfaces greater than 1:20 or 5%).
The ASTM C-1028 test should be replaced by either one of the 3 tests mentioned in the draft Order attached and specifically below:
- ASTM E303, Standard Test Method for Measuring Surface Frictional Properties Using the British Pendulum Tester – This test method shall be used for measuring frictional properties; i.e. slip resistance; of any walking surfaces, in either the laboratory or field under dry or wet conditions. A Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of 45 or greater, using this approved testing method, must be achieved in order for the walking surface to be considered slip resistant and approved by the Director.
- ANSI A137.1-2012, Standard Test for Measuring Dynamic Coefficient of Friction for Ceramic Tile or Other Like Surfaces - This test method shall be used for measuring frictional properties; i.e. slip resistance; of any walking surfaces, using the AcuTest method, which replaces ASTM C1028 as the specified method for coefficient of friction testing on ceramic tile of other like surfaces, in either the laboratory or field under dry or wet conditions. A Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) of 0.50 or greater, using this approved testing method, must be achieved in order for the walking surface to be considered slip resistant and approved by the Director.
- DIN [Deutsche Industrie fur Normung] 51130) German Institute for Standardization, Standard Test for determining anti-slip properties and Coefficient of Friction of Off Site Floor Testing – This test method is an alternative to Pendulum Testing as described in ASTM E303 above, due to the size and complexity of the equipment, which is conducted by inclining a ramp covered with the proposed flooring or walking surface by one (1) degree at a time until someone walking on the ramp slips. The Coefficient of Friction is then calculated using the tangent of the angle of the slip. A Coefficient of Friction (CoF) of R11 or greater, using this approved testing method, must be achieved in order for the walking surface to be considered slip resistant and approved by the Director.
- Special or small streets
- Full right-of-way of shared public ways
- Transit stop areas, including transit curb extensions and medians
- Mid-block and raised pedestrian crossings
- Furnishing zones of sidewalk
- Submit three (3) sets of completely dimensioned and noted plans to show ONLY the extent and location of the proposed work. Special sidewalk plans can be in conjunction with other San Francisco Public Works permits.
- Submit a non-refundable fee payable by cash, checks, or VISA/MC to San Francisvo Public Works for investigation and inspection. (See Fee Schedule)
- Submit all of the above with this application to our office: Bureau of Street-Use and Mapping, 1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103-0942
- Upon approval of permits additional fees will be required for notarization and recordation of approved permits. The Recorder’s Office is located on the ground floor of City Hall in Room 190. For information on Recorder’s fees, please call (415) 554-4176. Any certified Notary Public may notarize the permit.
Other Resources – Bureau of Urban Forestry (BUF)
For More Information:
SF Public Works • Bureau of Street-Use & Mapping
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor • San Francisco, CA 94103 - map
Telephone : (415) 554-5810 • Monday-Friday
Operating Hours : 8:00am-5:00pm
Permit Processing Hours : 7:30am-4:00pm