Board of Supervisors Unanimously Approves Permanent Shared Spaces Legislation Introduced by Mayor London Breed
Successful outdoor dining and retail program will continue beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, making permanent changes to streamline curbside, sidewalk, roadway, and other permitting processes for San Francisco businesses and organizations
San Francisco, CA — The Board of Supervisors today unanimously passed legislation introduced by Mayor London N. Breed to make the Shared Spaces program permanent in San Francisco. The program will provide a streamlined permit process for San Francisco businesses, arts and culture organizations, and others to use curbside, sidewalk, full-street spaces, and open lots for local business activities. The legislation was co-sponsored by Supervisors Ahsha Safai, Rafael Mandelman, Catherine Stefani, and Matt Haney.
“Shared Spaces brought back life and excitement to our neighborhoods during an incredibly challenging time. It has been wonderful to see friends and families enjoying their community and supporting their local businesses,” said Mayor Breed. “By taking the necessary steps to make Shared Spaces permanent, we are providing another lifeline for local businesses to thrive and creating a clear path forward towards rebuilding our economy as San Francisco recovers from COVID-19.”
In March 2020, as San Francisco began to reopen following the initial Stay at Home Order, Mayor Breed announced the creation of the Shared Spaces program to help neighborhoods and businesses by providing additional public space to support local business activities. The Shared Spaces program was envisioned by the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force, with Mayor Breed convened, as a way to support businesses as they adapted to COVID-19 and needed to move more business operations outdoors. Throughout the summer, the Shared Spaces program enabled businesses to offer safer, outdoor commercial uses. In October 2020, following the recommendations of the Economic Recovery Task Force, Mayor Breed announced that the City would make elements of the Shared Spaces program permanent beyond the pandemic.
The permanent program enables businesses to apply for a Shared Spaces permit on a sidewalk, in a curbside lane, roadway, private property, or pop-up entertainment through a single easy-to-use application portal. To make this program more sustainable in the long-term and to better support sponsors upfront with design quality, accessibility, and safety, the City will require approvals from City agencies within 30 days of businesses submitting an application, aligning with requirements under Proposition H passed by the voters in November 2020. The permanent Shared Spaces program includes clearer public engagement protocols, so neighboring businesses and residents have a say in how the streets and sidewalks are used in the long term. The Shared Spaces program will defer the collection of permit fees until June 2022.
The program will gradually start rebalancing curb uses as transportation needs increase along with a recovering economy by incentivizing movable parklets and promoting space sharing and turnover amongst merchants on city blocks. Lastly, the City will provide coordinated enforcement for Shared Spaces to make compliance easier for businesses.
For more details on the permanent Shared Spaces program, go to: sf.gov/shared-spaces-future.