Parking next to crosswalk now illegal in CA: Here's what you need to know

The law says you can't park within 20 feet of a crosswalk, whether it's marked or not.

Lyanne Melendez Image
Wednesday, January 17, 2024
Parking next to crosswalk now illegal in CA: Here's what to know
Parking next to a crosswalk is now illegal after a new bill went into effect earlier this month.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- You may not know this, but parking next to a crosswalk is now illegal. The bill signed into law earlier this month is already proving to be controversial because it won't just have an impact on where you park in the Bay Area.

The law says you can't park within 20 feet of a crosswalk, whether it's marked or not.

SFMTA told us parking control officers will now issue warnings.

"If you are within the spirit of the 20 feet, they'll be ok. They're not going to take out a tape measure," assured Ricardo Olea of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

But he warned, don't expect all curbs near those crosswalks to be painted red.

"No, it won't be painted because it's a state law now. It's like a driving rule," added Olea.

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Most people in the Bay Area were unaware of this new law.

"If you can't park within 20 feet of the crosswalk, it's going to make parking a lot more difficult for everybody," predicted East Bay resident Reijo Keskitalo.

But city traffic engineer, Olea told us the state is prioritizing pedestrian safety over parking.

"By keeping away from the crosswalk, you're allowing vehicles that are driving to get a better view of pedestrian that might be starting to cross the crosswalk," he explained.

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Years after late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee helped launch Vision Zero, the city seems farther than ever from reaching their goal of no traffic deaths.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, California traffic deaths reached a four-decade high. The state's pedestrian fatality rate is more than 25-percent higher than the national average.

In order to comply with the new law, there will be some changes, parking meters for example.

"We will actively go out and remove those parking meters in the course of the next couple of years. In the worse case scenario it's two spaces per block." said Olea.

As a result, there will be less revenue from parking meters for cities, though the exact amount was not researched by the state.

But the new law won't just impact parking spaces.

Buses that start or end their route near a crosswalk will be moved back 20 feet.

"If there is a bus parked like a terminal, we will look at those to make sure when buses are parked there, they are away from the corner," explained Olea.

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Some parklets may be a problem.

There are restaurants with parklets that are right up against the crosswalk. There is no way cars can see pedestrians ahead of time. Those too will be asked to be either removed or pushed back.

While taxis, Lyft and Uber drivers won't be allowed to park near a crosswalk, anyone can drop someone off near the crosswalk without getting ticketed.

Beginning in 2025, the warnings will stop. Instead citations will be given out. The fine has yet to be determined.

Some residents say this new law proves that San Francisco is anti-car, even though the law applies to all cities in California.

"San Francisco is not anti-car, but San Francisco has the benefit of having other alternatives to driving such as transit, bicycling, walking," said Olea.

But at times, those who are walking are on their phones, not paying attention when they enter the crosswalk.

"We will continue to work on this issue. It's by no means solved, but we're hopeful that we can continue to make progress," he added.

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