Step by step

Shared Spaces Permit Transition Timeline

Rules for Shared Spaces will go into effect gradually.

The Shared Spaces program was started as a way for neighborhood-serving businesses and community groups to continue to operate outdoors, during the pandemic. The Program activates sidewalks, curbside parking lanes, whole streets, and vacant lots; and has rapidly evolved into a proven model for improving economic, social, and civic wellbing. In 2023, Shared Spaces will complete its transition from an emergency initiative to a permanent program, under legislation introduced by Mayor Breed and passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors.


Starting August 28, 2021

Rules starting in this phase:

  • Design for Persons with Disabilities: Including clear path of travel on sidewalks, sidewalk diverters, and dining table for wheelchair users.

  • Design for Emergency Responder Access: Including 3-foot wide gaps every 20 feet and removing portions of roofs that interfere with firefighting ladders.

Some parklets may need to re-size, relocate, or be removed.  If this is the case at your site, you will receive communications in advance: 

  • Opening Transit Boarding Areas: Clearing Shared Spaces at transit stops where bus and train service is starting again.

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Starting Spring 2022

Visibility at High-Injury Intersections

Some parklets near intersections may need to re-size, relocate, or be removed.

This ensures pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers can see each other, signage, and traffic signals.   If this was the case at your site, you would have received communications in advance.

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June 30, 2022

Pandemic Permits Extended

Existing Pandemic Permits for sidewalk tables & chairs, sidewalk merchandizing, parklets, roadways and private lots expired on June 30, 2023. 

Valid pandemic permits in good standing at that time were extended to March 31, 2023.  Some permits may have been held back if the permittee was not taking action to fix ADA, emergency access, and pedestrian safety issues.

Roadway (Temporary Street Closure) Permits did not automatically extend.  To operate a Roadway Temporary Street Closure on or after July 1, 2022, submittal of a renewal application was required.

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September 1, 2022

Equity Grant Applications Re-Open

Reimbursements are available up to $2,500 for Shared Spaces operators to bring their Shared Spaces into compliance with ADA and safety guidelines. Grants can be used for materials or professional services. You must complete required compliance work and get your legislated Shared Spaces permit before we can pay you.  Applications were accepted through March 1, 2023.

Step-by-step application process here

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Fall 2022

Compliance Advisories & Compliance Noticing begins

You may receive communications from the City to help you understand how to make your pandemic Shared Spaces safe and accessible.

  1. Compliance Advisory in your email. This will summarize all the design and placement issues at your site that the City has noted so far. It will list typical deadlines for fixing different types of issues.
  2. Enforcement & Compliance Cover Sheet in person in or in your email. This is similar to the Compliance Advisory, but will include hard deadlines instead of typical deadlines. It will be part of a packet that includes
    1. Notice of Correction or Notice of Violation from Public Works. This will have strict deadlines and fees if you have not been responsive to initial communications from DPW
    2. Notice of Violation from the San Francisco Fire Department.  This will have strict deadlines and fees if you have not been responsive to initial communications from SFFD
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March 31, 2023

Applications Due for post-pandemic permits.

Businesses must have a legislated permit to operate after the pandemic program ends.

You will need to do the following as part of the part of the application process for a legislated Shared Spaces parklet permit. Once a complete application is received, the Shared Spaces Team will:

  • Site Plan: You will need to submit a site plan that shows that your parklet will be safe and ADA accessible.
  • Neighbor Consent: Some parklets will need written consent from their neighbors, if more than half the parking space for a parklet is in front of a neighbor.
  • ReviewOnce a complete application is received the Shared Spaces Team will review application and site plan, and provide feedback about needed changes, within 30 days.
  • Preliminary Inspection: Once application and site plan are approved, the Shared Spaces team will conduct a preliminary inspection of the site.
  • Public noticing requirements: You will need to post a 10-day public notice at and around the proposed site. You will receive the notice for posting after a preliminary inspection is completed.
  • Construction: After the 10-Day Public Notification period has passed, Sponsor has 60 days to make modifications to existing structure or install a new structure. The structure must match approved site plan.
  • Final Site Visit: After construction is complete, sponsor must notify Department of Public Works within 15 days and Public Works will schedule a final site visit to verify the Shared Space is compliant.
  • Permits and Signage: After your Shared Space is deemed compliant, Public Works will issue your permit and site signage.

Apply for a permit for your sidewalk or parking lane

Apply for a roadway activation

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Starting April 1, 2023

Pandemic Shared Spaces Program ends and the legislated Shared Spaces Program begins.

Some parklets may need to re-size, relocate, or be removed.  If this is the case at your site, you will receive communications in advance. 

  • Color Curb Reinstatement: Ensures there is adequate disabled, passenger, and commercial loading on the block
  • Maximum 2 parking spaces: Helps as many merchants as possible have the opportunity to operate a parklet. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis

Parklets must follow these rules of the legislated program on or after April 1, 2023:

  • Public benches: All parklets must have a seating area that is open to the public, indicated with a sign.

  • 3-foot setback: All parklet structures should be set back from the end of the marked parking space, to allow additional accessibility for emergency responders. The setback is not required where the parking space is adjacent to a red curb.

Roadway ‘pop-up’ Street closures will begin receiving barricades, signage, and other traffic control fixtures from the City.  You will no longer need to get these items on your own.

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Starting April 1, 2023

180 Day Grace Period Begins

In February 2023, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation introduced by Mayor Breed to create a grace period for pandemic parklet operators to transition to the post-pandemic program.  Under this new law, pandemic-parklet operators have until September 27, 2023 (180 day grace period after the pandemic program ends on March 31), to update their Shared Spaces to meet design requirements; receive final site inspections and be issued a legislated permit. Pandemic parklet operators may still retain their parklets during the 180 day grace period, as long as they have submitted a permit application by March 31st and are making progress towards establishing compliance.

Making progress is defined as the following:  

  • Applicant has submitted a permit application.  

  • Applicant demonstrates timely responses to questions regarding their application, modify their site plans to conform with the Shared Spaces Design Guidelines as necessary, and provide other required documents or information requested by staff.  

  • Applicant is making progress on necessary fixes such as those for accessibility and safety

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Permit fees begin assessment

If you are issued a post-pandemic permit, you will receive a bill for permit and business license fees as appropriate.

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May 30, 2023

Pandemic Shared Spaces Must be removed if you did not submit a post-pandemic permit application by the end of the pandemic program on March 31st.  May 30th, 2023 is the end of a 60-day wind down period following the pandemic permit program. Failure to remove an unpermitted Shared Space may result in penalties or other enforcement.

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Last updated March 10, 2023