Monday, May 18, 2015

Why Doesn't San Francisco Enforce Double Parking on Sundays?

Why Doesn't San Francisco Enforce Double Parking on Sundays?


Parking in San Francisco has long been difficult, and it’s getting tougher as the city gets more crowded. But there’s one time of the week when all the parking rules strictly enforced by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority seem to go out the window — Sunday morning.

Drive around San Francisco on a Sunday between 10 a.m. and noon. It’s common to see cars parked in center-turn lanes, along medians or boxing in the cars parked closest to the curb.

It happens all over the city and it’s been going on for decades.

KQED listener Eric wants to know why, but he doesn’t want to be blamed for pushing churchgoers out of the Mission. We agreed to use only his first name.

“I would call it a traditional accommodation,” said Carlos Jimenez, a pastoral staff member at Cornerstone Church on 17th Street in the Mission District. “I don’t think anyone can point to where that started. Many people have asked if it’s formal. It is not formal, but it’s something the city has always accommodated churches.”

My conversation with Jimenez was interrupted periodically so that he could help people park as they arrived at church. Cornerstone has recognized that parking is tricky in the Mission, and is trying to be a good neighbor by having a crew of volunteers help parishioners park efficiently.

Jimenez and his crew of 12 work to shepherd cars into an underground garage, along the median on Guerrero Street and even into street spots. Even with all this careful planning, Jimenez says other San Francisco drivers get angry sometimes.

“We’re the ones people yell at,” Jimenez said. “They scream; they curse at you; they’re upset. And that’s just something we have to get used to as a crew.”

The church crew parks along the median only when services are going on, Jimenez says. After that, they clear cars away and then call the SFMTA to ticket any cars left in the median.