You’re walking to your car and ready to start your day. You realize you’re one of the few cars on the street and then see the dreaded paper on your windshield — a ticket. Getting a ticket is annoying enough, but getting one because you forgot about street cleaning adds an extra layer of aggravation because it could be prevented. If you’re tired of paying for street cleaning tickets in San Francisco, here’s what you need to know about street cleaning in SF.
How does street cleaning in San Francisco work?
Street cleaning is a way to reduce trash and pollutants. And with the case of San Francisco in particular, it’s a way to lower the number of contaminants that get into the sewer as well as in the Pacific Ocean.
San Francisco Public Works is the entity that manages the street cleaning SF program. According to their website, street cleaning covers 150,000 curb miles and gets rid of 25,000 tons of trash and debris each year. In order to do this, there is a regular street cleaning schedule that is maintained.
The schedule for street cleaning in SF is typically:
- Once a week in residential areas
- If not once a week in residential areas, at least two times per month
- Once a week street cleaning in commercial areas
As part of street cleaning, you must move your vehicle for the streets to be properly cleaned.
When is street cleaning in my area?
If you live in San Francisco and want to avoid the fate of a ticket, you want to know when street cleaning is so you can actually prepare for it. Here are your options to find out when street cleaning in SF happens.
- Look at the signs as you park. Yes, it can be like learning how to read a new language but looking at the data directly as you park is your best bet. Set a calendar reminder on your phone to move your car as you take note of the sweeping street day.
- Review the 2021 SF street cleaning schedule. San Francisco Public Works has a 2021 street cleaning schedule that gives you an idea of when street cleaning will happen and lists out SF street cleaning holidays. Check it out here.
- Check out SF street cleaning maps. If you want to know about street cleaning in your area or at a specific address, you can check out two different SF street cleaning maps. You can see the street cleaning schedule, parking info, safety rank, and risk level via Xtreet.org. You can also use this SF Find tool to check out what’s in a particular area, such as libraries and parks, as well as the street cleaning schedule. Simply select a neighborhood or input your specific address and scroll down to see the schedule for street cleaning.
Taking these steps can help you get the information you need for your residence, work, or wherever you’re going to hang out.
How much is a street cleaning ticket in San Francisco?
Getting a street cleaning ticket is no fun any way you spin it. But when you see the cost, it can feel even worse. As of July 1, 2021, the cost of a street cleaning ticket in San Francisco is $85, according to the SFMTA. This is up from $83 as of January 1, 2021, and up from $68 from just five years ago (hello inflation!). If you get several street cleaning tickets in a year, that’s a few hundred bucks that can take a bite out of your budget.
What are the street cleaning holidays?
If there’s a holiday, you may be off the hook when it comes to street cleaning in SF. But that’s not always the case. The SFMTA website lists all holidays and includes whether parking meters, nightly street sweeping, and other programs are enforced or not enforced. We’ve listed the SF street cleaning holidays that are not enforced. Not on this list? Assume it’s enforced and you should move your car.
|SF Street Cleaning Holidays||Status|
|New Year’s Day (January 1, 2021, and 2022)||Not enforced|
|Thanksgiving Day (November 25, 2021)||Not enforced|
|Christmas Day (December 25th, 2021)||Not enforced|
How to avoid getting street cleaning tickets in San Francisco?
If you keep getting hit with street cleaning tickets, you’re probably frustrated with how much money you’ve wasted. It’s not exactly cheap and is a nuisance. In order to avoid street cleaning tickets in San Francisco, be sure to stay on top of the street cleaning schedule.
Also, Metromile customers can use the Metromile app to get up-to-date street sweeping alerts in San Francisco, Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, as well as Chicago.
Depending on the preference you choose, you’ll get a sweeping street alert 12 hours before by text, push notification, or via email. An additional alert may be sent an hour before the sweeping street begins to help you avoid that dreaded ticket and keep money in your pocket. If you’re not yet a Metromile customer, you can sign up and take advantage of this perk.
Is it okay to park after the street sweeper passes by?
If you’ve seen the street sweeper pass by, but it’s still technically within restricted hours, you might wonder if it’s okay to park or if it’s even legal.
The answer, according to KQED is “yes”. However, don’t get too excited just yet. You may think the process is finished, but it’s not. The KQED article on the matter states there are four steps to street cleaning, which can confuse people:
- First, there is a broom support truck that goes by.
- Then the street flusher.
- Next in the queue — your mortal adversary — the citation officer (hey, but they’re just doing their jobs).
- Then the actual street sweeper comes.
So you might not want to test your luck if it’s still within the restricted parking window.
The bottom line
Getting a street cleaning ticket is one of life’s greatest annoyances. Using this guide, you can check out the SF street cleaning map and know the SF street cleaning holidays where you can relax a little. Remember, you can sign-up for Metromile to make the process even easier and get alerts in real-time so you can say goodbye to tickets while also potentially saving money on car insurance. Get a free quote and learn more about our app.
–Melanie Lockert is a freelance writer, podcast host of the Mental Health and Wealth show, and author of Dear Debt. She’s a cat mom to two jazzy cats, Miles and Thelonious, an amateur boxer, music lover, and needs coffee to function.