A citizen committee on Tuesday recommended forbidding all median parking, when drivers park their cars along the unpaved, planted center medians on Dolores and Guerrero streets. The recommendation will go to the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency’s board, which will decide what policy to put in place within the next 90 days.
The committee’s votes ultimately dismissed several alternative proposals that would have allowed but regulated median parking, which is currently illegal but goes unenforced.
The transit agency helped form the committee, comprised of local residents and leaders of faith-based communities, to address concerns about the unofficially sanctioned practice of worshippers and park goers parking on the medians on select blocks of Dolores and Guerrero streets.
Thursday’s final meeting was attended by seven of the nine members of the task force. They recommended that the transit board convene meetings and help foster relationships between local churches and synagogues, as well as local businesses, to try to work out parking alternatives. Each member voted in favor of that recommendation, though some had reservations.
“Not all of the organizations have the finances to do something alternative,” said Gustavo Torres of the Mission Dolores basilica. “I’m not trying to be disrespectful of someone in the neighborhood, but we existed before there were even streets in the neighborhood.”
The committee also recommended that the transit agency should post clear information about parking rules on its website.
At the beginning of the meeting, it still looked like the committee might approve some form of parking along the medians. Transit agency staff had recommended a pilot program of parking along Guerrero Street and formalized median parking on Dolores Street.
The pilot program would have modified the informal rules governing parking in the area by increasing enforcement and increasing visibility at intersections by shrinking parking zones away from them. But while representatives from faith communities supported these compromises, neighborhood residents opposed them.
“We’ve already piloted it. It hasn’t worked,” said Elizabeth Zitrin, a committee member, in opposing those proposals.
“Our solutions do not match the spirit of what the neighborhood wants,” said committee member Gus Preston.
“I feel defeated,” said committee member Agnieszka Bernstein upon hearing the proposed compromises. She wholly opposed median parking.
The opposition to median parking carried the vote, and came as a disappointment to rabbi Ted Riter of congregation Sha’ar Zahav, who estimated roughly half of those who attend services or meetings there arrive by car. He called the committee’s vote “insulting.”
“I think the proposal today… would be crippling,” he said. “I’m aghast that the community members are so narrow-minded.”
Riter said he hoped the transit board would approve the proposals dismissed by the committee when it makes its own decision.