Are there any limitations for walking on restricted roads in San Francisco?

  • 2
    It does depend on why it is restricted. To give samples, our local restricted streets are either on a factory, no access at all, or just no through traffic by car, no restrictions for cyclists and walkers. So better give a more precise location, best a map with an arrow for the actual spot.
    – Willeke
    Feb 2, 2020 at 19:27
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    Google Street View is helpful for this, because it lets you actually look at the road (particularly the entrances and exits to it) to see if there are signs restricting access, gates or fences blocking the way, unsafe conditions, etc... (note that the situation could have changed between when the Street View images were captured and today.) But if you have a specific location in mind, please let us know and we can help. Feb 2, 2020 at 20:42
  • If you mean freeways, then California law apparently says that their access by pedestrians is only forbidden if there is an appropriate sign saying so, which there aren't any on all the approches to 101, 80 or 280 freeways I have seen on Google Maps. So in theory, walking would be allowed. However, in most cases, there is no sidewalk, shoulder, or any other passage, so walking on those freeways would be suicide. Do NOT try it!
    – jcaron
    Feb 3, 2020 at 9:34

1 Answer 1


Contrary to @jacaron's comment above, "pedestrians prohibited" signs are commonly posted at all California freeway entrances. Here, chosen at random, is the entrance to the s/b Central Freeway (Interstate 80/US 101, at Market Street). The prohibitory sign is located about 10m behind the green "Freeway Entrance" sign.

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Here's the prohibitory sign in close-up:

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The advice not to walk on freeways, however, is very well taken. The "sidewalk" in the above picture disappears just beyond the sign.

A person walking on the freeway stands an excellent chance of being hit by a car In any event, pedestrians on freeways are not tolerated by law endorcement and will surely be stopped and removed (at least) by the first passing police or Highway Patrol officer.

Source: I'm a lawyer, and I've lived in California my whole life.

  • I do not see anything in the question to indicate freeways. They might well mean it but they may also mean something completely different. Can you add to your post to include other kinds of restricted roads?
    – Willeke
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:51
  • Mmmmppf... Google is playing tricks on me. It was showing me some version of street view without that sign (this is actually the first location I checked!). Now that I have navigated in time I have it and I no longer see any version of that location without the sign. Weird. However, I just checked two other locations (entrance to the same freeway on S Van Ness and entrance to s/b I80 at Harrison and 7th) and do not see any signs. Do I need glasses?
    – jcaron
    Feb 3, 2020 at 16:06
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    @Willeke What the OP means by "restricted roads" is unknown to me. The term "restricted roads" is not known to California law. Because of the prevalence of the "no pedestrian" signs at freeway onramps, the freeway pedestrian prohibition is clear. The Comments you and Zach Lipton posted immediately below the question are on point, and the OP hasn't returned to clarify. Feb 3, 2020 at 16:21
  • @jcaron Nope, you don't. I don't see the sign at those onramps either. But signs are removable pretty easily, and there's a lot of street life around there. The sign I showed looks pretty new. Pick a freeway onramp at random in the state, and you're likely to see one. (I just looked at Highway 1 s/b at Morrissey Blvd. here in Santa Cruz, where I live, and the signs are present and easily visible.) Feb 3, 2020 at 16:25
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    Walking on a freeway is going to end terribly whether or not a sign is posted. There are other types of "restricted roads" such as a decent chunk of Market St now (restricted to commercial vehicles, buses, taxis, and bikes) and various oddities (as a random example, the parking lot on Pier 30 shows up as a restricted road in Google Maps, as do some roads on the USF campus and the closed-to-cars bit of Twin Peaks). Unless the OP comes back to clarify, I don't really know how this can be answered in any more detail: some restricted roads are great places to walk, others very much aren't. Feb 3, 2020 at 20:20

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