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San Francisco Community Board

San Francisco Common Street Sign Breakdown

Can people really “fight City Hall” if they get a parking ticket or are towed in error?

If you were given a parking ticket and believe you didn't do anything wrong, or were towed when you were parked legally, you absolutely can challenge the ticket. If you need our help, please consult with The Parking Expert. The best strategy, obviously, is to not get a ticket in the first place.

Should I fight a ticket/tow if I was parked illegally?

If you are guilty of a parking infraction, it is naturally much more difficult to fight a parking ticket or a tow. There are, however, some instances where an infraction can be contested—especially if the ticket was filled out incorrectly by the officer who wrote it. If things like the date, time, location, or type of infraction and/or the make and model of your car are improperly filled out on the ticket, the ticket should be dismissed.

Are there other tips or tricks you have for finding the best places to park in San Francisco?

It’s difficult to generalize, but there are some good methods to find parking in the busiest sections of big cities—usually their downtown areas or business districts. For instance, instead of trying to park right in the heart of Downtown San Francisco, say, on Market Street between Drumm and Davis Streets, it’s easier to find parking if you travel a little farther towards the outskirts of the city. Basically, even in places where there seems to be no street parking, there probably will be something available if you are willing to park a little farther away and walk a little bit more. Exercise is healthy, so kill two birds with one stone! Another tip: I f you call ahead to a parking garage, or go to their website and reserve ahead of time, you'll likely get a better rate.

What does it mean when a sign says “No Standing” ?

Standing actually means sitting! Specifically, it means that you are sitting behind the wheel in your parked vehicle.

What is the difference between No Standing and No Parking?

No Parking means that you can’t park your car and walk away, but you can stand in your car (see above). You can wait as long as you like while standing as long as you’re not asked to move by a police officer or traffic enforcement agent (you must move if asked). No Standing means that you can’t wait in your car for more than a few seconds (i.e., to drop off or pick up passengers).

How is No Stopping different than No Parking and No Standing?

No Stopping means exactly what it says—you can’t stop there at all, not even for one second!

What are commercial vehicles?

Commercial vehicles—generally vans and trucks that make deliveries—have special license plates. If you don’t have commercial license plates, you don’t have a commercial vehicle (no matter how big the vehicle is) and can’t park in spots designated for commercial vehicles.

In San Francisco, what is a Multi-Meter or “meter kiosk?"

Meter kiosks, found in many cities including San Francisco and other parts of the Bay area, are centralized meters that accept payment for designated parking spaces in the immediate area. These centralized meters are replacing the older meters at individual parking spaces. Meter kiosks accept payment for all the nearby parking spaces on the block. You put money in the machine (which usually takes credit cards and special parking cards, as well as cash) and get a receipt, which you put on your dash board facing up, so that the time at which you paid for parking and the amount of time you paid for are clearly visible.

In San Francisco, what are the regulations for handicapped parking?

In San Francisco, special parking privileges are available for individuals with certain disabilities.

Possession of a blue placard allows one to park at any legitimate curbside space, any green zone, any blue zone, or in any City-owned parking lot, but not in a City-owned garage, for up to 72 hours without paying any fees. Specifically, with a disabled placard (temporary or permanent) or permanent disabled license plates, one may park :

  • In any parking space with the International Symbol of Access. (wheelchair symbol)
  • Next to a blue curb authorized for handicap parking.
  • Next to a green curb (green curbs indicate limited-time parking) for as long as you like.
  • In a metered parking space on the street at no charge.
  • In an area that indicates it requires a resident or merchant permit.
  • Check public arenas, like sports stadiums, to see if they offer free disabled parking. Many do.
  • Do not park in the areas marked with white hatch marks (near the disabled parking spots), any red (no stopping), yellow (commercial vehicles only), or white (passenger loading and unloading only) curbs.
What are the eligibility requirements to receive a Blue Disabled Persons Parking Placard in San Francisco?

If you have limited mobility or one of the following conditions, as diagnosed by your doctor, you will be eligible for a blue placard:

  • Heart or circulatory disease
  • Lung disease
  • A diagnosed disease or disorder that significantly limits the use of lower extremities
  • Specific, documented visual problems, including low vision, partial-sightedness, or blindness
  • The loss, or loss of the use, of one or both lower extremities or both hands
  • In some cases, including those related to lack of mobility in the hands, arms, or lower extremities, a licensed chiropractor disability can certify a disability.
  • The blindness of any disabled parking applicant must be certified by a licensed physician or surgeon (eye specialist) or by a licensed optometrist.
How do I apply for a Blue Disabled Persons Parking Placard in San Francisco?

The California Department of Motor Vehicles issues blue placards, in compliance with California Vehicle Code criteria to those with any of many and varied, permanently disabling conditions. Complete information regarding applying for a blue placard can be obtained online at:

Can I obtain a temporary Blue Disabled Persons Parking Placard when I am visiting San Francisco?

Disabled visitors may pay a $6 fee and present a state-of-origin permit/plaque with photo ID to obtain a temporary permit from DMV at 1377 Fell Street. There is a special line/window to assist individuals with disabilities. Complete information regarding applying for a temporary blue placard can be obtained online at:

What do “Alternate side street cleaning rules” mean?

These rules refer to the time of day and days of the week when the streets are cleaned. During these days/times, one side of the street will not be eligible for parking. Often—though not always—parking will be allowed during all other days/times.

I hear about people who wait in their cars and sometimes double-park during the street-cleaning times. What’s the story with that?

Very often people will move their vehicles at the last minute before the prohibited time (when one is not allowed to park), and then wait for the street cleaner to go by, at which time they will drive back to the side where they started and wait for parking to be legal again before they leave their cars. Since the street cleaning sign says “No Parking,” people can legally stand (sit behind the wheel) while waiting for the magic minute when parking is again allowed. Double-parking is never legal and you run the risk of getting an expensive parking ticket anytime you do it.

Sometimes police and traffic enforcement agents will look the other when people double-park while waiting for the street cleaner to go by, but it is not worth the risk.

Do street parking rules apply during holidays in San Francisco?

Some do and some don’t, depending on the holiday and also the type of parking regulation in question. For complete, detailed info on San Francisco holiday parking regulation enforcement, please visit:

Do I need to pay the parking meters if parking rules are suspended?

On days when parking meters are suspended (and be careful, because on some holidays parking meters are enforced even when other parking regulations are suspended), you do not have to pay at the parking meters. Please note that even on holidays when parking meters are not enforced, you still have to pay at the parking meters on Port Property as these are enforced 7 days per week throughout the year. For complete, detailed info on San Francisco holiday parking regulation enforcement, please visit:

What does it mean when a sign says “No Parking School Days”?

This refers to days that school is in session (including summer school). Very often there are hours associated with the rules, e.g., 7am–4pm. In this case you may not park during those hours on days that school is in session.

What does “feeding the meter” mean?

Many people think it is OK to continually go back to a parking meter and put in more money so that they can stay as long as they like. Lots of people get away with this, but it is not legal. If the sign says “2-hour metered parking 8am–7pm,” then during those hours you may only stay for 2 hours at a time. If you come back during a 2-hour maximum period and put in more money so that you can stay longer, this is termed “feeding the meter” and can get you an expensive parking ticket.

How much will it cost me if I get a parking ticket in San Francisco?

Most San Francisco parking tickets cost $100 or less, although the range is from $45–$275.

How much will it cost me if my vehicle gets towed in San Francisco?

The towing and administrative fee for passenger vehicles is $330.00 (more for larger vehicles). The first four hours of storage beginning from the time of tow is free. After this first 4 hours, a storage fee of $43.25 is charged. If the vehicle is in storage after this point, storage charges continue to accrue as follows:

After the first 24 hours from time of tow, a storage fee of $51.75 is charged. Thereafter, a storage fee of $51.75 is charged every day at midnight . In some cases, this midnight increase may happen shortly after the first 24 hour increase. See California Civil Code section 3068(c)(3). Here is an example of how these fees might be applied:

  • Day 1 (day of tow): Vehicle towed at 10 p.m. No storage charge until 2 a.m.
  • 4 hours later: $43.25 charged if vehicle not retrieved before 2 a.m.
  • 24 hours later ("Day 2"): $51.75 charged if vehicle not retrieved before10 p.m.
  • Midnight, (which begins "Day 3"): At midnight , 2 hours after first $51.75 charge, additional $51.75 charge
  • Each subsequent calendar day: $51.75 charge per day

Note that these fees are for most vehicles. Large vehicle towing and storage charges are higher.

What do I do if my vehicle has been “Booted” in San Francisco?

Once a vehicle has been booted, you have seventy-two (72) hours to pay the outstanding citations on the vehicle before it is towed. You must pay all outstanding citations in full, including any late penalties, in order to arrange for boot removal. There is a boot removal fee of $245. The following payment methods apply:

  • If your vehicle has been booted you must pay at the SFMTA Customer Service Center, 11 South Van Ness Avenue, Monday-Friday, between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. or;
  • San Francisco AutoReturn, 450 7th Street, Monday-Friday 5:00 pm to 11 pm for same day release and,
  • Monday-Thursday 11:00 pm to 8:00 am for next business day release. Boots will not be released on weekends or holidays.
The parking signs indicate that it is legal to park in front of an apartment building, but the doorman told me I couldn’t park there. Was he right?

No, he was just trying to intimidate you. Whatever it says on the official parking signs is correct.

The official parking sign indicates that it is legal to park in front of a hotel, but there was a sign made by the hotel saying that I couldn’t park there. Which was right?

The official parking signs are always correct. Any signs that aren’t official are meaningless and unenforceable.

How close to a crosswalk can I park?

You can park right up to a crosswalk, as long as no signs prohibit it.

Are there best days of the week to find parking on the street?

It is generally easier to find street parking on weekends than weekdays. Specifically, Sundays are the easiest of all, as there are a fair number of parking regulations that cover either Mondays through Fridays or Mondays through Saturdays.


©2012 Tired of Parking TIckets, Inc.