Parking in San Francisco

Last Updated: August 10, 2016

Public Parking

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) manages public parking in San Francisco. The SFMTA also provides the latest news and tips for parking in the city on their parking page and summarized below.

Quick Things to Know

  • For street parking, you need to confirm three things before you park: curb and meter color, time limit, and the street cleaning schedule
  • “Feeding the Meter,” or adding more time after the posted time limit is not allowed. After the limit is reached, you must move your car at least one block (1/10th of a mile or about 500 feet)
  • White meters mean nothing. Green meters mean a 15-30 minute limit (doesn’t apply to vehicles with disabled placards). Yellow and Red meters are not open to the public, these are commercial loading spots where yellow is for all types and red is for vehicles with six wheels or more.
  • Overnight parking is permitted after the time restrictions, even without a permit. You must move your car the next morning at the start of the restricted time period, you cannot “feed the meter” and restart your time in the morning.
  • You can check the street sweeping schedule ahead of time by entering your address or exact spot on a map from Public Works site
  • If you encounter any issues or want to confirm information on city parking dial 311 (415.701.2311 outside SF)
  • If you end up parking on a hill, you must curb your wheels. See the video below for a refresher on parking on a hill.


San Francisco Street Parking Curb Colors

All of San Francisco street parking is on a Colored Curb Program that is synced with colored meters. The curb’s color designates parking restrictions for that spot during certain times (check nearby signs for colored curb enforcement periods). See below for restrictions by color or read more details about the the Color Curb Program in San Francisco.

  • Red – No parking, typically located near fire hydrants, bus stops, and the edge of driveways
  • White – 5-minute parking, for passenger loading and unloading, utilized for buildings like hospitals, restaurants with 100+ seats, government buildings, and places of worship
  • Green – 10-minute parking, often located in front of dry cleaners, florists, shoe repair shops, and ATM machines
  • Yellow – No parking, reserved for commercial loading and unloading
  • Blue – Parking for individuals with disabilities, in effect 24/7 with the exception of street cleaning
  • Unpainted – See signs for posted time restriction, typically 2 hours within residential zones, otherwise it’s the 72-hour limit


Paying for Street Parking

Parking meters accept coins, pre-paid cards, pay-by-phone, and credit cards.

  • Coins – simply add coins to the meter. Your meter is the one at the front of your parking spot.
  • PaybyPhone – this service allows you to pay and extend your time from you phone for an extra $0.45 fee per transaction. Here’s how:
  1. Call 866-490-7275 or download the app on iPhone, Android, or Blackberry to register
  2. Enter the meter location and submit payment
  3. Utilize the countdown or fare replenishment features to manage your parking
  4. Keep in mind that if you use the PaybyPhone option, the meter will still read expired. Don’t worry – Parking Control Officers monitor payment from a handheld device
  • SFMTA Parking Cardpre-paid cards are available at local merchants for $20 or $50, including the following in Chinatown. You may want to call to confirm availability. See a full list of merchants in San Francisco that offer $20 and $50 cards SFMTA Parking cards. You can also purchase SFMTA Parking Cards online; allow seven days for them to arrive.
  • Credit Card – all meters accept credit card payment. A $0.27 fee is added to these purchases.


Real-Time Parking Pricing

Always an innovator in the utilization of public parking that is in high demand, the SFMTA maintains live pricing and availability on their website ( along with a mobile app for some neighborhoods. It is currently available in the Financial District, along the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, Civic Center, Marina Union Street shops, and the Mission District. Learn more about “Smarter Parking Pricing” in San Francisco.


Residential Parking

The city enforces a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) program. There are 28 different parking permit zones in San Francisco. To get a pass, find your zone, and apply online or by mail. Follow the links below for more and application instructions.


Resident Parking Permits

Annual residentbusiness, and medical caregiver permits cost $111. Passes for 6-months or less are $55. Short-Term permits start at $13 when one to five are purchased together. The pricing drops if bought in bulk and/or two-week increments up to eight weeks.

A limited number of passes are available for Teachers, Fire Station workers, or Foreign ConsulatesContractors and the Press can get permits after registering. A registered vanpool can buy an annual pass for $110.


Booting and Towing

Find more at the official site. If you think you’ve been towed in San Francisco call 415.865.8200. If you suspect your vehicle has been stolen, call the San Francisco Police Department at 415.553.0123.

Vehicles with more than five delinquent tickets can be booted and fined $316. Boot removal fees must be paid in person at the SFMTA Customer Service Center located at 11 South Van Ness Avenue. Towing fees start at $491.25.


Removing a Boot

After hours boot removal payment can be submitted at Auto Return, 450 7th Street between Bryant and Harrison Streets. This is also where towed cars are stored. Boot removal or towed-car retrieval is available Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.


Retrieve a Towed Vehicle

Retrieval of a towed vehicle is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Payment on towed vehicles after 11 p.m. will prompt release the  the next business day. No boot releases are conducted on Sundays and holidays.



Private Parking in San Francisco

Expect to pay between $5 and $20 per hour and $20 to $60 overnight in private lots and garages around San Francisco. There are several private lots and garages that operate in San Francisco and the Bay Area. To get a sense of the best spots check out the San Francisco Parkopedia page to find a garage near your location. Often times these garages will allow you to book your reservation in advance.