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Parking crackdown: Transit boss warns of coming enforcement blitz

A convoy of small white utility vehicles, each with an amber light on top, drives down a road.
A Parking Enforcement Officers travel to issue citations to cars parked in the way of a street sweeper in the Richmond district on Thursday. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

Park carefully, San Francisco. Citations are coming.

Residents have chafed in recent weeks after their vehicles were ticketed while sitting in the same spots they’ve used for years. Now, those types of citations are poised to multiply.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director Jeffrey Tumlin announced Tuesday that parking control officers will soon begin conducting intensive enforcement operations across the city.

“In many San Francisco neighborhoods, given the scarcity of parking control officers that we have faced for several years, there are people who think that the rules don’t exist,” Tumlin said during Tuesday’s SFMTA Board of Directors meeting. “We want to get the word out that we are finally able to start enforcing the rules.”

The new intensive enforcement plan will fall outside of parking control officers’ regular duties. During the intensive enforcement operations, parking control will descend on one supervisorial district a week at a time, issuing a flurry of tickets in that neighborhood. 

The initiative is possible because the city’s parking control team is fully staffed for the first time since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, according to Tumlin.

A line of parking control vehicles with flashing lights on a road.
SMTA's Agency Director Jeffrey Tumlin announced intensive parking enforcement operations will soon be taking place across the city. | Source: Paul Kuroda for The Standard

The weeklong intensive push will happen in each district about once every three months, according to SFMTA spokesperson Michael Roccaforte.

Intensive deployments will prioritize safety-related violations, such as parking on sidewalks or in bike lanes, blocking crosswalks and parking too close to an intersection, said Roccaforte.

“People who park on the sidewalk, in bike lanes or in a crosswalk put pedestrians and bicyclists at risk by forcing them into traffic or obstructing people using wheelchairs or other mobility devices,” a spokesperson for Mayor London Breed told The Standard. 

San Francisco street safety has taken center stage since a family of four was killed in March after an SUV crashed into a bus shelter. In response, Breed called for a complete overhaul of city streets and renewed San Francisco’s commitment to Vision Zero, an initiative that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities. 

Twelve people have died in traffic incidents in San Francisco in 2024, according to preliminary SFMTA data.

Parking officer in a blue uniform writes a ticket by a car, with a handheld device and paper.
Trevor Adams, a parking control officer for the SFMTA, issues a parking ticket on March 21, 2017. | Source: Paul Chinn/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images

Despite a decade of work under Vision Zero’s banner, the program has failed to stem deaths on city streets. However, Breed has recently thrown her weight behind the initiative, identifying her top priorities as designating more intersections as “no right on red”, expanding the practice of daylighting intersections by removing parking spots close to crosswalks and ramping up enforcement.

SFMTA has faced criticism for moving too slowly on street safety infrastructure projects since Vision Zero launched back in 2014. In March, Supervisor Connie Chan announced her intention to introduce an emergency declaration prioritizing the completion of Vision Zero infrastructure projects on the city’s most dangerous streets.

“This request today reflects the emergency on our streets right now, which has been exacerbated by the SFMTA’s lack of management, strategy and urgency to prioritize these projects in a timely fashion,” Chan said.

Noah Baustin can be reached at