The Cornerstone Church at 3459 17th St. in San Francisco's Mission District. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

The Cornerstone Church at 3459 17th St. in San Francisco's Mission District. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

Citizen group votes to abolish illegal church parking near Dolores Park

Illegal parking for churchgoers on the streets near Dolores Park must go.

So says a citizen advisory group convened by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to address parking concerns created by churchgoers on Dolores and Guerrero streets in the Mission district.

For decades, weekend churchgoers illegally parked their vehicles along medians on Dolores and Guerrero streets, blocking the middle of the street. But the vehicles were not regularly ticketed, which neighbors have complained amounts to a de-facto “turn the other cheek” from city officials.

In response to neighbors’ concerns, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency convened a group of citizens, from church representatives to secular neighbors, to settle the issue.

Now the Dolores/Guerrero Median Parking Advisory Committee has spoken: a vote by the Dolores/Guerrero Median Parking Advisory Committee on Thursday morning recommended parking along road medians on Guerrero and Dolores be abolished.

The decision is not final, but is instead a proposal SFMTA staff will present to its Board of Directors in about three months, said John Knox White of the SFMTA.

SFMTA staff may also submit a proposal separate from that of the citizen group, Knox White said.

Still, the citizen group’s proposal to abolish median parking could impact that final vote.

“We’re weighing a benefit to the entire community to a benefit to your one church,” said committee member Elizabeth Zitrin at the meeting. Zitrin said the community overwhelmingly opposed the median parking in a recent SFMTA survey.

But lack of parking may impact Cornerstone Church, represented on the committee by Kyung Kim, its administrative pastor. The parking decision could also impact Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, on Dolores Street.

“I think the proposal today is crippling,” said Ted Riter, an interim rabbi at Sha’ar Zahav, who was at the meeting.

“I’m kind of aghast that the community members seem to be so narrow minded; it’s such NIMBY-ism and I’m very sad,” he told the committee.

Initially, the committee supported median parking on the streets, which SFMTA staff presented Thursday. That proposal included a one-year median parking pilot on Guerrero Street between 17th and 18th streets, and southbound between 18th and 19th streets.

The committee’s earlier suggestions would have formalized median parking along Dolores Street between 14th and 19th streets on Sundays, and southbound between Alert Alley and 16th Street on Friday evening, and Saturday morning.

On seeing the proposals, committee member Agnieszka Bernstein said, “We don’t want parking in the middle of Guerrero street. This is absurd.”

Some committee members said neighbors who live near Dolores and Guerrero streets should not have to accommodate the cars of people from throughout Bay Area, even for church.

But Riter of the Sha’ar Zahav said many of the temple’s members are former San Francisco residents who were priced out to the East Bay and beyond. Now those members may turn away from Sha’ar Zahav if they cannot park, he said, hurting the temple both financially and otherwise.

“We don’t want to lose our family,” Riter said, “that cuts at our soul.”

church parkingDoloresMission DoloresParkingSFMTATransit

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