Dolores Street median parking pilot gets green light

San Francisco transit officials will proceed with developing a 12-month pilot to allow median parking on Dolores Street where members of faith-based institutions have parked there for decades.

The Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors approved on Tuesday to allow the transit planners to come up with a pilot and bring the pilot back to the board for approval.

John Knox White, a transportation planner for the SFMTA, led a committee called the Guerrero/Dolores Median Parking Policy Advisory Committee. He said the committee voted 4-3 to get rid of median parking, but needed a threshold of five votes to present any recommendation to the SFMTA board.

The committee did agree on one thing that there were safety issues of cars parked close to the intersections as well as cars perpendicular between medians along Dolores Street, which the SFMTA said in documents will consider crafting the pilot.

Knox White said the pilot would clarify to drivers on when it would be OK to park in the median and when parking control officers would start enforcement. Right now, drivers can only park in the median if signage permits.

Without signs present on Dolores Street, churchgoers have parking illegally in the median.

Rabbi Ted Riter of Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, said his synagogue on Dolores and 16th Street is just not used by his members, but also by the First Mennonite Church and occasionally community groups and businesses looking space to meet:

“And there are times we need more parking than is available on curb. There are times when public transportation cannot safely serve nor adequately serve out community.”

Members of Cornerstone Church and the Mission Dolores Church came out to support a pilot program.

Gustavo Torres, who works at the Mission Dolores Church and was part of the SFMTA committee, said he supports a median parking pilot, but a pilot that is not limited for church members:

“We want to come together and want everyone in the community to utilize the median parking.”

Elizabeth Zitrin, who was also part of the same committee, said the pilot is providing “special prilvieges” to the churches and synagogues.

She also said that the he voices of the committee were not being heard. She said that it was not true that a majority of committee members had to agree on a recommendation. Zitrin said Knox White should have presented the committee’s recommendation to get rid of median parking to the SFMTA board on Tuesday.

SFMTA board Director Cheryl Brinkman said she sees both sides of the issues including neighbors who want to get rid of median parking:

“I can absolutely see both sides of this. I can completely understand the neighbors who get fed up with the creep I think is what’s been going on. It’s started small and it’s just been kind of creeping block by block and it’s not attractive and it’s not safe.”

Brinkman said it was obvious that the transit agency was not doing good job in managing parking. She directed staff to take the pilot further by developing a parking management plan for the neighborhood upon completion of the pilot.