Park Maintenance Scores

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Recreation and Parks Department

Target: 90% of park maintenance standards met

Result: 89% of park maintenance standards met

Target: 87% of park maintenance standards met

Park maintenance scores are evaluation results using standards developed by the Controller’s Office and the Recreation and Park Department (RPD). Park maintenance scores are based on performance standards for 12 categories of park features, including lawns, children’s play areas, and restrooms, and include questions about park maintenance and appearance. The standards measure the success of maintenance in delivering parks that are clean, safe, and ready for use. The standards do not measure facility design, or consider demand for recreational amenities or ecological sustainability, nor do the standards substitute for professional assessment of structural integrity.

In March 2019, the Controller's Office and RPD partnered to update the methodology for consistency and accuracy. Additionally, they created an interactive dashboard that allows users to explore citywide scores and look up information on their own park. The chart below, which is one section of the dashboard, shows trends in citywide scores, the highest and lowest scoring parks, and changes in park scores over time. For the full dashboard, please navigate to this website.


NOTE: In 2019, the Controller's Office partnered with the Recreation & Parks Department to update the methodology for computing scores for consistency and accuracy. These scores may different slightly from prior reporting.

How Recreation and Parks is Performing

Park maintenance standards were implemented in fiscal year (FY) 2005-06 and were revised for evaluations beginning in FY 2014-15. The revised standards build on the previous standards to provide greater clarity, reduce evaluator interpretation, and allow for deeper analysis of the results. The new standards were the results of two years of concerted intradepartmental effort, involving review and feedback by front-line custodial and gardener staff, as well as manager and administrator input. For FY 2016-17, standards were consolidated and streamlined to make language more consistent, clarify any confusing language and reduce subjectivity in the evaluation.

RPD distributes quarterly reports of park maintenance scores for internal evaluation purposes. These reports are reviewed at Executive Staff and Parks & Open Spaces manager meetings.

How Performance is Measured

All supervisory and management staff at the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) and all staff in the City Performance Unit of the Office of the Controller perform park evaluations each quarter. On average, 167 parks are evaluated four times a year. In FY 2015-16, evaluators began using a mobile application to complete evaluations, rather than paper forms. Data from completed evaluations will be stored in a dedicated cloud-based database and distributed to RPD management and staff, in addition to the general public.

The standards cover 12 broad features ranging from lawns to restrooms. Each park has a different set of features to be evaluated. Each feature is evaluated for the condition of various "elements" such as cleanliness, plant health, and playground conditions. For example, the performance standard for the "mowing" element requires that turf be less than 4.5 inches high. If an evaluator reviews a certain area of lawn and finds turf that is taller than 4.5-inches, then the evaluator would check the appropriate box to report this condition exists. An un-mowed lawn results in the failure of the "mowing" element. The reported conditions are the basis for scores.

Additional Information


Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.