Play Streets

What is a Play Streets event?

Play Streets creates a safe neighborhood place for kids to play by temporarily closing one block of street to car traffic. In communities that lack sufficient space for healthy activities, Play Streets open up space for recreational use, while allowing people to get to know their neighbors in a fun, safe environment.

Play Streets are community led and feature locally produced activities and programs. It’s up to you and your fellow organizers to decide what activities take place at your Play Streets. School-organized Play Streets can provide additional space for recess, and community-organized Play Streets give neighbors a tool to create more space for neighborhood kids to play.

4 square

How to plan a Play Streets event:

  • Select the Street: Play Streets are limited to one residential block, and cannot include an intersection. Streets with transit lines, driveways to large parking facilities, near hospitals, or used for emergency access are ineligible. A resident of the block hosting the event must sponsor play Streets.
  • Choose a date. Work with friends and neighbors to determine the best date and time. Play Streets can take place during daylight hours any day of the week, any week of the year.
  • Brainstorm activities. Reach out to your local neighborhood center, non-profits, fire station, performers, and instructors who may want to lead an activity or teach a class. You determine the programming at Play Streets! Request a Play Streets Resource Manual for a list of suggested programming ideas.
  • Gather signatures from at least 50% of residents on the block. Speak to every resident, and gather signatures on the Play Streets petition to show support from the neighborhood. You will need to include the addresses of supporting neighbors.
  • Recruit volunteers! You will need people to set up and break down street closure barricades, as well as safely escort cars on and off of the route. Play Streets events must be supervised by the event organizers and volunteers.
  • Contact your local police station to support your event.
  • Create barricades to safely block off the street. It is up to you to come up with physical barriers to keep cars off of the street. Barricades must be three feet tall, and include signage stating that the street is closed to car traffic. A Play Streets supervisor or volunteer can move barricades to assist with any local access issues.
  • Submit application, street diagram, and filing fee to SFMTA (more information in the How to Apply section).
  • Promote your event! Create a flyer to distribute to the neighborhood at least two to three weeks in advance. Be sure to post to doors along the entire block that will be closed to car traffic so neighbors are aware of the street closure, and include your contact information so people know whom to contact with concerns. Invite local elected officials, students at local schools (with a flyer in Wednesday folders), create a Facebook event to invite and promote online, and post signs in local businesses.

 kids playing with big bubbles

How to Apply: The Interdepartmental Staff Committee on Traffic and Transportation (ISCOTT) must permit all Play Streets events.  We recommend submitting the application at least 60 days in advance of the proposed event date to ensure the lowest filing fee. Download and complete the Play Streets Application (currently the same as Block Party permit). Submit with a diagram showing local access, and a 14-foot continuous emergency access lane, as well as the filing fee (the earlier the application date, the lower the fee). Applications and Block Petition must be submitted to Meryl Klein at Meryl.Klein@sfmta.com.

If you do not want cars parked on the street during your play street, you must request temporary “No Parking” signs be posted along the block at least 72 hours prior to the event. More information about parking limitations will be included in your ISCOTT permit.

Insurance for Play Streets: Any school or organization hosting a Play Streets event must provide proof of General Liability. Insurance in the amount of $1 Million dollars per occurrence/$2 Million aggregate. For complete insurance information, click here.

Note: If your group is approved for a Play Street permit, it is only valid for one event. You will have to reapply to host multiple Play Streets events.
For more thorough information on various street closure permits, visit www.sfmta.com/services/streets-sidewalks/apply-street-closure