See also Street Furniture Overview
Kiosks are public elements that are sources of information, and may include maps, bulletin boards, or other useful information. Kiosks can often be combined with gateway signage and provide an attractive and useful streetscape element.
This webpage focuses on independent community kiosks that may be installed by neighborhood initiative or community business district with appropriate permits. The City also has contracts with JCDecaux and Clear Channel Outdoors relating to advertising/public service kiosks in conjunction with the provision and maintenance of public toilets and transit shelters, respectively. For more information on those programs, see:
SFMTA transit shelters program
Community kiosks are typically installed by community groups like neighborhood or merchant’s associations, or as part of a larger package of corridor-wide improvements. Kiosks are generally not installed by individual property owners, tenants, or business owners.
Community kiosks typically require a Major Encroachment Permit or Minor Sidewalk Encroachment Permit from DPW, depending on the scale of the installation.
If your project involves multiple streetscape elements, you must obtain relevant permits for all features. For projects involving various streetscape elements, DPW will often streamline the process by combining multiple elements under one or more permits.
See Permit Process for more information.
Official Codes & Documents
- Better Streets Plan (street design guidelines)
Street types: Downtown Commercial, Commercial Throughway, Neighborhood Commercial, Downtown Residential, Residential Throughway, Mixed Use, Parkway, Park Edge, Multi-Way Boulevard, Ceremonial
Sidewalk zones: Extension Zone, Furnishing Zone
Location of kiosks
Kiosks should be located in the furnishings zone, leaving required throughway and edge zone widths.
When more than one kiosk is installed on a street, all kiosks should be placed on the same axial line at regular intervals.
Public service kiosks (those primarily providing information) should be separated by at least 150 feet per block face with a maximum of two kiosks per block face. No more than two kiosks should be placed at any intersection.
Whenever possible, public service kiosks should be placed at red curb zones that are not transit stops.
Whenever possible, Kiosks should be placed on corner and mid-block curb extensions.
Kiosks should not be placed within transit stops.
Kiosks should be placed such that they do not block scenic views.
Design of kiosks
Kiosks should communicate information by including bulletin boards for community posting, enclosed cases for display of city information, or permanent lettering. Where a kiosk serves as a gateway element it should include a neighborhood, commercial district, street, or park name or other information.
When more than one kiosk is installed on a street, all kiosks should be of the same, or complementary, design and scale.
Kiosks can be artistic and expressive. They should reflect an area’s special character through their design and can be integrated with public art.
Kiosks should include braille and be multi-lingual as necessary and appropriate to the specific location.
With some exceptions, fronting property owners are responsible for the on-going maintenance and upkeep of sidewalk paving as well as all sidewalk elements directly fronting their property, such as trees, landscaping, and streetscape furnishings. Generally, the City is responsible for maintaining roadway paving and other features in the roadway, such as medians.
Typically, if you initiate street or sidewalk improvements, you will be responsible for maintenance of those features. Specific requirements will be described in your permit.
JCDecaux and Clear Channel Outdoors are responsible for maintenance of the kiosks they install through their contracts.
For a more detailed description of maintenance responsibilities, see Maintenance.