The NY Times discovers illegal church parking

Jesus doesn't drive to church and park in the middle of the street

The Bay Citizen-New York Times partnership is already jazzing up the quality of what was a very weak Northern California section in the Times. And now the pair have discovered one of the dirty little secrets of San Francisco Sundays -- illegal parking by church-goers who just leave their cars in the middle of the street.

This is one of my favorite crusades, and I've been on it for quite a while. The Times/Bay Citizen story tries to sort out what the rules are and why this is allowed to happen. The SF Appeal tried to figure it out, too. But when you talk to the cops on the beat in the Mission, here's what they'll tell you: There are no rules. There is no law. The church-goers have no legal right to park in the middle of the damn street. It's just a tradition that goes back so long that nobody wants to defy it.

And whatever the cops and the MTA say, it's not a public service for community events. It's about religious gatherings. If you want to go to a secular gathering -- say, a Yoga class -- and park in the streets Sunday morning, you get a ticket. In fact, I know somone who tried that; she said a cop on the scene asked where she was going, and she said yoga, and the cop said she couldn't park there. It's only "for church services."

I'm all in favor of closing streets to traffic, but turning them into parking lots -- and allowing private institutions to use city property, at no cost, to promote religious events is not only a violation of church and state. It's wrong.


I'd love to take this on in court, but unfortunately we'd lose. Under our corrupt system, the executive branch has the final say in enforcement. If it doesn't want to enforce, it doesn't have to. The mayor supervises the cops, so if he refuses to do anything about this, a judge would tell you to elect a mayor who will if you don't like it. This stinks, but I don't see what could be done. Another victory for the evils of organized religion and Earth-destroying cars.

Posted by Jeff Hoffman on Jun. 13, 2010 @ 1:07 am

It interests me, what exactly evil are these people doing? Most churches in SF are ridiculous progressive outfits.

It's good to see the left wing hate, against fellow liberals who happen to believe in a god.

Poor fringe left types so confused and full of hate for people not just like them.

Posted by glen on Jun. 14, 2010 @ 9:17 am

Start letting all the air out of their tires on Sundays...

Posted by Tobias on Jun. 14, 2010 @ 8:48 am

Glen, you're not listening. I don't hate religious people. I just don't see why certain church-goers should get a special privilege that people who have more secular interests on Sunday morning don't get. If we want to turn Valencia and Dolores into parking lots one day a week, fine: First come, first served (or charge a fee), and parking there while you go to yoga or brunch or a bar or sit in the sun in the park is just as valid as parking there while you go to church.

That's all I'm saying.

Posted by tim on Jun. 14, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

It's beyond me why Jesus gets to park wherever he wants on Sunday.

The Cornerstone even advertises parking on the street on its web page the last time I checked.

Likely the best reason is if the city cracks down, the Christians will go howling about how they were persecuted by the liberals in SF. That type of thing is always a winner on the 700 club or FOX type news, or Democracy Now.

Posted by mr matlock on Jun. 14, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

Please log in and post your comments. This site ( is monitored by the mayors office and DPT.

Posted by hubbert on Jun. 22, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

For those who do not know, in their words, "SeeClickFix encourages residents to become citizens by participating in taking care of and improving their neighborhoods. We allow anyone to:

See - see a non-emergency issue in your neighborhood
Click - open a ticket describing the issue and what can be done to resolve it
Fix - publicly report the issue to everyone for resolution"

I posted the original Sunday Parking issue. I am hoping enough people comment to get a change made by city hall.

Posted by hubbert on Jun. 22, 2010 @ 1:56 pm