Street furniture, such as Newsracks, are a vital part of our sidewalk environment. Newsracks encourage economic development in our commercial districts and are one of many ways to activate the space in the public right of way under the SF Better Streets Plan.
Both the State and Federal Courts interpret the law as allowing free standing news racks on public sidewalks. In May of 2002, the Board of Supervisors adoption of the City's News Rack Ordinance which regulates the placement and maintenance of news racks. The city does not have the authority to remove free standing news racks unless they are specifically prohibited by Code.
The City's News Rack Ordinance is not intended to and does not ban free standing news racks on public sidewalk but it’s aim is to reduce the amount of sidewalk clutter associated with free standing news racks, by requiring Fixed Pedestal (Pedmount) News Racks in many parts of the City. Fixed pedestal news racks promote the public health, safety and welfare and the aesthetic qualities of the City by controlling the placement, size, construction and appearance of news racks. Fixed pedestal news rack zones are established within areas of the City with a high level of pedestrian traffic.
Steps to establish & implement a fixed pedestal news rack zone
Contract with Clear Channel Outdoors
Effective May of 2002, under the 20 year contract, Clear Channel Outdoors will install, operate and maintain, on public property up to 1000 units. The contract was crafted such that the program is run at minimal cost to the City. Clear Channel Outdoors is responsible for the installation and maintenance of pedmount racks and in exchange they receive revenue generated on the advertisement units.
Each pedestal unit will remove approximately 6.75 free standing news racks. By the end of 2011, almost 800 units will be placed in commercial corridors throughout the city. Fixed Pedestal News Rack Zones established to date.
News Rack Advisory Committee
The advisory committee members are newspaper distributors and concerned citizens appointed by the Director of Public Works who meet regarding the pedmount news rack implementation, to discuss policies and procedures and to make recommendations to the Director of Public Works on program needs. Check out the News Rack Advisory Committee Agendas and Meetings Minutes. Meetings are scheduled as needed. To request a meeting notice, send your email to the Newsrack Advisory Committee.
Box Space Approval and Assignment
Publishers must apply for a box space in pedmount units. The city conducts an allocation and lottery meeting whereby publishers obtain approval and pay a permit fee of $50 per year for each approved box space. Once a pedmount unit is installed, publishers are notified to occupy the new boxes and to remove all free standing news racks. Free standing racks are not allowed to coexist on sidewalks with fixed pedestal racks.
Publisher's and Distributor's Resource Page
(click here) For additional program information including:
- Free standing news racks - Maintenance / code Enforcement
- Fixed pedestal news racks - How to apply for a box space
- Vacant box space - Qualified applicants
San Francisco Public Works
Bureau of Street Use and Mapping
News Rack Program
1155 Market Street, 3rd Floor Map
San Francisco, CA 94103
or contact Amanda Higgins at Amanda.Higgins@sfdpw.org
To report damage or graffiti on news racks, call 311 or submit a service request.