SAN FRANCISCO—On Thursday, October 22, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced that permits obtained through the Shared Spaces Program which were originally set to expire at the end of December may now be extended through June 30, 2021. Additionally, new applications are being accepted. According to Mayor London Breed, the city is contemplating making the program permanent.
The announcement for the extension comes along with plans to provide direct funding support to businesses, create a pilot basic income program for artists, support cultural districts, delay impact fees, and waive certain taxes and fees for businesses that remain closed, from the San Francisco Economic Recovery Task Force Releases Final Report.
The San Francisco government writes, “The City is making it easier for businesses to use outdoor space. It is safer to do business outside during the coronavirus outbreak. Businesses can reopen or expand into the sidewalk and parking lane while we keep our residents healthy and safe.”
The Shared Spaces Program is a product of the coronavirus pandemic by the San Francisco government, giving out free permits to businesses that wish to maintain social distancing health recommendations and laws by physically expanding their business outside their walls. This includes the movement of dining spaces, shopping areas, and seating onto sidewalks, parking lanes, streets, private property, Port space, and park space. There are permits which allow for amplified sound in outdoor spaces and entertainment, called a Just Add Music (JAM) permit. Through these permits, businesses can expand into public areas as long as a six feet wide walking path is preserved. Traffic lanes, bus stops, and red or blue curb zones are not covered. Permits are available on the San Francisco government’s website, sf.gov, through an application that approximately takes around fifteen minutes.
On August 19, an interactive map of shared spaces throughout the city was published. The virtual map tracks the progress of businesses that have applied for permits, separated into gradiently colored labels: Diverted, On Hold, In Progress (Applicant), In Progress, Approved (Partial), and Approved. Currently, 1.7 thousand businesses are approved; over three quarters of the map.