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Parking Guide
Parking Guide
  • 72-Hour Maximum Parking

    Unless you see any other restrictions, such as permit zones, paid parking meters, street sweeping signs or posted time limits, you can park in one spot for up to 72 hours.

    If you are parked beyond this time, you can be issued a warning and be given a parking ticket or even towed. This holds effect even if you have a permit to park in that area, such as a disabled placard or residential parking permit

    In summary, in order to avoid a ticket for violating the 72-hour rule, be sure to move your car to another spot.

  • Park Closer Than 18 Inches From the Curb

    When parking parallel, make sure you are within 18 inches of the curb.

  • Curb Wheels on Grades

    When you park on a hill, defined as a 3% grade or more, angle your front wheels slightly. In the event your vehicle is hit or its brakes were to fail, this would ensure your car only rolls into the curb and not into traffic.

  • Face the Flow of Traffic

    Even if your car is otherwise parked legally, it must always face in the direction of the flow of traffic.

  • Check Your Bumpers

    Always double check to make sure your front and rear bumpers are not extending into a driveway, crosswalk or a color zone.

  • Street Cleaning

    Street cleaning signs and regulations prevent vehicle owners from blocking the path of street sweeping trucks, which keep our streets clean. Once a street sweeping truck has swept the curbside, you can park your car there, even if the posted sweeping hours have not expired.

    Always check for street sweeping and parking signs. Look 100 feet in both directions for any parking signs and double check the curb to see if there are any color curb markings. Note that you can't park until the street has been physically swept during street sweeping hours. See any defaced, deficient or missing parking signs? Please call 311.

  • Residential Parking Permit Zones (RPP)

    The preferential residential parking system was created to foster the safety, health and welfare of all San Francisco residents by cutting down on unnecessary personal motor vehicle travel, noise and pollution. It also aims to promote the use of public transit and improvements in air quality, convenience and attractiveness of urban residential living areas. The main goal of the program is to provide more parking spaces for residents by discouraging long-term parking by people who do not live in the area. There are now 28 residential permit areas in the City.

    See if your address qualifies for a Residential Parking Permit.

  • Time Limited Parking

    If you don't have a permit in a permit area, you will need to move your vehicle after the posted time limit, time limits are usually one to two hours. As well, the law requires you to move one block away or at least one-tenth of a mile, about 500 feet. In short, do not simply drive around and then park in the same block, or you can get a parking ticket.

  • Blue Curb

    Blue zones are parking spaces for people with a valid disabled parking permit. With the exception of street cleanings, tow-away zone restrictions or when restricted by a special event or a construction permit, blue zone regulations are effective 24/7. For more information about parking with a disabled placard, please refer to your disabled placard identification card from the DMV. Never block access to a blue zone or park in one without a valid placard/permit. The fine is severe and your vehicle may be towed.

    Blue zones are normally located in areas with high public use, such as:

    • Parking lots and garages
    • Dense commercial areas
    • Near public parks and playgrounds
    • Here's a list of blue zones on public streets.
  • Green Curb

    Green curbs are reserved for short-term parking situations that do not exceed 10 minutes. Standard effective hours are 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Saturday. Green meters will either have a 15 or 30 minute time limit in metered areas. Cars parked in a green zone in excess of posted time limits can receive a ticket. Cars bearing disabled plates or placards are exempt from the time limits for green curbs.

    Green meters/curbs are usually used for:

    • Small neighborhood grocery/deli convenience stores
    • Dry cleaners
    • Florists
    • Audio-visual repair shops
    • Shoe repair shops
    • Postal shipping centers
    • Hardware stores
    • Video rental stores
    • ATM machines
  • Red Curb

    Red zones are "No Parking" zones and should not be parked in at anytime, no matter the circumstances. Vehicles parked in a red zone will get a ticket and be towed. Be aware of red zones at:

    • Edges of driveways
    • Intersection corners
    • Bus stops
    • Fire hydrants
    • Curb ramps
  • Yellow Curb

    Yellow zones are only for active freight loading and unloading by commercial vehicles. Be sure to watch out for signs close by or stencils on the curb for effective hours. Note that if the sign specifies that the area is in a tow zone, vehicles without a commercial license plate parked in a yellow zone will be given a parking ticket and will be towed.

    Loading zones for six-wheel trucks are noted by signs only. Six-wheel trucks can use this zone when signed for six wheels or more. Six wheel loading zones can typically be distinguished by their red-capped meters in metered areas. Yellow zones are usually reserved for large companies or properties that deliver and receive a lot of shipments.

  • White Curb

    White zones are designed for passenger loading and unloading during key hours and have a time limit of five minutes. Nearby signs or stencils on the curb should usually list the effective hours. When loading or unloading, the driver needs to stay with the vehicle at all times - limited exceptions apply at hospitals and preschools. Vehicles parked in a white zone can receive a citation and be towed. White zones are typically used for:

    • Hospitals and medical offices
    • Senior centers
    • Restaurants with a 100 or more seats
    • Valet parking, hotels, apartment or condominium buildings with over 50 units
    • Theaters, churches or other large places of worship or assembly
    • Schools and government buildings
  • Parking Meters

    You can pay by coin, pay-by-phone, credit card (Visa, MasterCard and Discover) and the SFMTA parking card. Please see below for a description of meter types:

    Red and Yellow Meters - Red and yellow metered parking locations are reserved for commercial vehicles during the day but regular cars can park outside the hours specified. To be safe, be sure to read the small signs attached below the meter.

    Green Meters - Green metered parking locations are limited to 30 minutes during regular hours.

    Motorcycle Meters - These meters are for motorcycles only.

  • Pay for Parking Tickets

    If you get a parking ticket, you can pay online, by phone, by mail or in person. For more information on how to pay for a parking ticket, please visit the SFMTA site.

  • Dispute a Parking Ticket

    If you get a parking ticket and want to dispute it, you need to do it within 21 days from the date the ticket is issued or from the date of the first notice. Protests will not be considered after that length of time has expired. Don't pay for a parking ticket if you decide to dispute it. For more information on how to pay for a parking ticket, please visit the SFMTA site.

  • Booted Vehicle

    You can get towed immediately or temporarily immobilized a.k.a. "booted" if your vehicle gets five or more delinquent parking tickets. If your car is booted, you have 72 hours from the time the boot is posted to your vehicle -- excluding weekends and holidays -- to pay the parking tickets on all vehicles registered in your name. This will prevent your vehicle from being towed.

    For more information on how to pay for a parking ticket, please visit the SFMTA site.

  • Towed Vehicle
    Your vehicle will be towed if your vehicle is parked in a tow away zone, is illegally parked or is abandoned. If you are towed, call AutoReturn (415-865-8200), the City's tow service provider, right away. Be ready to let the operator know your license plate number, vehicle description and the tow date and place. For more information on how to pay for a parking ticket, please visit the SFMTA site.