More than being a city, San Francisco is an emotion that hundreds of travel junkies have in their bucket list of destinations to visit. Being a leading city in the United States with iconic attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Union Square has its merits.
Regardless, planning a trip to San Francisco to explore the many options you have at hand is something you need to consider. While the prospect sounds exciting by itself, the only factor that pulls you back from taking on a trip to the Golden City is its unfortunately heavy traffic and difficulties in finding affordable San Francisco Parking!
There are just too many cars and too few affordable and vacant options for parking.
Unless you make pre-bookings for parking in San Francisco online through websites, it can be really difficult to get parking. You also need to be careful when going for vacant street parking as there are plenty of rules that govern street parking in San Francisco.
If you end up violating some of these rules and regulations for parking in San Francisco, you can end up with expensive San Francisco parking violations. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency that enforces street parking in San Francisco makes sure that parking violations don’t go unnoticed.
To make sure you have a good time finding affordable and legal San Francisco parking experience, we have you covered with a detailed guide with all you need to know.
Always Ensure that You Are Not Parking Illegally
There is a really thin line between legal and illegal parking when it comes to SF street parking. It is important to make sure that you are parked legally without any unnoticed violations like a wheel over the curb or your car being out of position along the parking line.
Some metered parking spaces have time constraints, and others are reserved exclusively for particular parking. These are also activities like street sweeping that require you to move your car to make it possible for street cleaners to do their job without hassles.
Most of these restrictions are usually mentioned in signage that is placed nearby.
Keep Tabs on Time Limits for Parking in San Francisco
There are time limits for some of the SF street parking spaces, and parking there for more than the designated time period could result in a parking ticket. Always double-check nearby signages and traffic signs to make sure that there are no time constraints for San Francisco driving and parking.
For instance, if the area you choose for parking is a residential neighborhood, you can only park for a maximum of two hours on an average basis. However, if there are no restrictions, you can park for a maximum of 72 hours.
Note that you are only allowed to park at one block after the timer expires.
Street Parking in San Francisco Has Street Cleaning Restrictions
Just like most of the other street parking spaces in high traffic cities like NYC, most of the street parking spaces across San Francisco have street cleaning schedules. You can find out the street cleaning times by checking out the traffic signage, which will have it displayed at every parking zone.
If you are heading towards a street parking zone, and street-cleaning is progressing, you’ll have to wait until the street cleaning is over before you can proceed to your parking space.
You should also understand what the requirements are for getting your windshield replacement in California in case you have damage from the street cleaning.
Understand What Each Colored Curb Means for San Francisco Parking
San Francisco follows a colored curb parking system that has different colored curbs with different parking restrictions. For those who have no idea about what colored curbs mean in terms of SF street parking, you must take note of what each colored curb means when it comes to SF street parking.
If you are someone who can always drive into an unpainted curb, you can skip this part. However, you would still need to make sure that there are no time restrictions for parking in the unpainted slot you go for parking in San Francisco.
On a lighter note, here are what each colored curb means for parking
Blue curbs are special parking zones reserved exclusively for people with disabilities. Unless you have a permit that allows you to park in disabled zones, you cannot park at the blue curbs.
There are no time restrictions for parking next to blue curbs, and you can be ticketed for parking at blue curbs without permits.
Yellow curbs are parking zones reserved exclusively for commercial vehicles only. The main objective of these parking spaces is to offer access to the loading and unloading of commercial vehicles.
Only vehicles that have commercial license plates are allowed to go for parking in San Francisco at this zone.
Red curbs are no parking zones commonly found right next to fire hydrants, bus stops, and fire stations. Parking at red curbs is your most straightforward way to an expensive parking ticket.
What’s even worse is that you also risk getting towed if you go for parking in red curbs.
White curbs are five-minute parking zones that can be used to drop and pick up passengers. The maximum time limit for parking next to white curbs comes in at five minutes. Most of the white curb parking in San Francisco can be found next to restaurants, diners, hospitals, and schools.
Green curbs are your best friend for parking. Green curbs can be defined as an upgraded version of white curbs and offer free SF street parking for 10 minutes.
You can find plenty of green curbs next to business establishments and mainly next to ATMs.
Watch Out for Residential Parking Zones
There are plenty of Residential Parking SF Street parking spaces out there are reserved exclusively for San Francisco residents with a valid Residential Parking Permit. If you do not have a residential parking permit, you are not eligible to go for parking across any of the neighborhoods that are earmarked for residential parking only.
If you have a residential parking permit and do not display it adequately, you can again be ticketed for not showing your permit properly.