San Francisco

SF Leaders Move to Make Illegal Church Parking Legal

For years, church-goers in a San Francisco neighborhood have parked illegally, and now city leaders want to make the practice legal, with some specific rules.

When several churches on Dolores Street near 16th Street hold services, Dolores turns into a parking lot. People park illegally in the lane next to the median.

The neighborhood already is crunched for parking, and the violators rarely are cited.

Recently, the illegal parking has expanded, and neighbors are concerned about safety and fairness.

City leaders are pursuing a pilot program to regulate median parking on Dolores. People in the faith community say worshippers deserve access to parking.

"They want to feel connected to San Francisco, and houses of worship give them that opportunity," said Michael Pappas of the SF Interfaith Council.

Others say it feels like religous groups are getting special treatment.

"The issue for me is fairness," said resident Alex Martin.

Plus, some residents say, the median parking limits visibilty.

"I don't want to get hit; don't want to get run over," Martin said. "That's what almost happened to us."

The pilot program will include more red curbs to improve visibilty. And signs will make it clear to everyone when median parking is allowed.

The pilot is expected to roll out in about 6 months.

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