LAST YEAR, THE SF MUNICIPAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY (SFMTA), convened a Median Parking Advisory Committee composed of nine local residents and members of local religious organizations with a stake in parking to help craft a formal policy regarding the contentious issue of median parking on Dolores St. and Guerrero St. Although parking on medians is and always has been illegal, SFMTA has bowed to local religious organizations in the area for decades by looking the other way to median parking on Sundays (and to a lesser extent on Saturdays). This has led to a great many others who come for other purposes to park on the median as well, leading to a situation that many have called “out of control.”
SFMTA also conducted a community survey, completed by more than 3,700 residents, to get the pulse of the community as a whole. The survey found that about three-fourths of respondents were unhappy with the status quo, and favored doing away with median parking (see this article in Mission Local for more details on the survey). The advisory committee, after meeting for more than nine months, made a final recommendation to curtail median parking, coming to these conclusions:
- Reducing two-lane transit corridors to just one lane has led to major congestion bottlenecks and pedestrian hazards.
- SFMTA’s failure to enforce perpendicular and intersection parking by median parkers has led to much abuse of the parking privilege and serious impediments to emergency vehicles in the event of an emergency.
- It is unconstitutional to give preference in the use of a public asset (parking) to one group over another. If median parking on Guerrero were to be “formalized” to accommodate local churches, the City would be open to a lawsuit by a disgruntled citizen.
- Median parking is incompatible with the recent greening of the Guerrero median. Unless median parking is carefully controlled by monitors, people exiting and returning to their cars will trample the median plantings or damage them when opening their car door.
- The reality is that most Sunday users of median parking on Dolores St. are not going to church, but to go to Dolores Park or to hang out in the neighborhood. For them, median parking is a convenience, not a necessity.
The final decision is now in the hands of the SFMTA Board of Directors. Its next meeting is Tuesday, August 16 at 1 pm at City Hall, Room 400. If you wish to testify on this matter—pro, con, or in between—you are encouraged to attend. The Board will make its decision at the end of the meeting, and it’s more than likely that some compromise will be made, rather than an outright ban.