Street & Sidewalk Cleaning Response

Public Safety

Public Works

Fiscal Year 2018-19
Target: 95% of street and sidewalk cleaning requests abated within 48 hours
Result: 71% of street and sidewalk cleaning requests abated within 48 hours

Fiscal Year 2017-18
Result: 73% of street and sidewalk cleaning requests abated within 48 hours

Public Works receives cleaning requests primarily through San Francisco 311, and has a goal of responding to 95 percent of street and sidewalk cleaning requests within 48 hours. Street and sidewalk cleanliness is important to the aesthetics, environmental quality, health, and safety of San Francisco. Public Works dispatches litter patrols for small items and steamer services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to meet its street cleaning goal. While Public Works dispatches packer trucks for a limited number of large item requests, Recology has been primarily responsible for responding to large item requests since July 2013.



The City responded to more than 76,000 street and sidewalk cleaning requests between July and April 2019 (FY2018-19), and 71% of those were responded to within 2 days. In the previous fiscal year (FY2017-18), the City also responded to 73% cleaning requests within 2 days. The department's on-time response rate declined significantly in 2017 while the volume of cleaning requests reached record levels, increasing sharply during summer of 2017. In February 2018, on-time response rates dipped to their lowest levels since reporting began in 2008, partly due to problems with deploying a new dispatch and tracking system within Public Works that required significant retraining for staff. The City was also challenged by unprecedented numbers of requests for street and sidewalk cleaning which created a larger backlog of service orders.

Public Works has implemented a number of new strategies to reduce the number of street and sidewalk cleaning requests since FY 2015-16. One notable example is the expanded Pit Stop pilot program, which provides staffed public restrooms, disposal of syringes, and pet waste bags. Public Works has also added dedicated alley crews that provide nightly cleaning to preempt public complaints.

Public Works conducts a monthly performance management program known as PublicWorksStat (formally known as DPWStat), which monitors the performance of key operational activities of the department. The Public Works Director chairs two stat meetings each month: 1) operational performance, and 2) design and construction performance. In these meetings, the Director and supervisors from each Public Works division review a series of interactive dashboards to understand performance and make improvements, when necessary.


Street and sidewalk cleaning requests are generated internally and through calls received by the City’s 311 call center. Requests received by 311 are sent to the Public Works’ dispatch system. Public Works’ Radio Room triages the request to the appropriate crew, and crews respond to the request.

The monthly response percentage is the number of requests responded to within 48 hours divided by the total number of requests received in that month.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the response chart above.



Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.