SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A proposal to extend parking meter hours citywide on Sunday has ignited passionate opposition from churches all over San Francisco.

The scarcity of parking in certain parts of town already takes a bite out of attendance at some Sunday worship services, so having to feed the meter could only make things worse, said Rev. James DeLange, president of the San Francisco Interfaith Council.

“Some of these congregations are historic churches that were built well before the use of the automobile,” DeLange said, and therefore “do not have parking lots.”

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Currently only meters at Fisherman’s Wharf and a few select locations overseen by the Port of San Francisco charge for meter parking seven days a week.

The Metropolitan Transportation Agency that oversees taxis, parking and public transportation estimates that it loses $11.8 million every year by not charging at meters on Sundays or after 6 p.m. on other days.

The agency has considered various proposals to close a $52 million projected shortfall over the next two years, including an even more unpopular idea of fare hikes on Muni.

Charging at meters on Sundays ignores the tremendous community benefit the 800 congregations in the Interfaith Council already provide to the city, said director Michael Pappas.

“A lot of these congregations are in very poor areas, and yet some of them are doing some of the greatest work in offering food pantries to the city and providing social services,” Pappas said.

Churches such as Third Baptist Church where services and related activities can sometimes last half the day would pay a heavy price, said Rev. Amos Brown.

“There’s no consideration given for impact and the hardship on churches, and I think that we can do a better job,” he said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (14)
  1. SOMAtwocents says:

    Churches escape paying taxes in so many ways. It’s time to make them pay for parking, property tax and every other way possible. I’m sick and tired of subsidizing ignorant superstition!

    1. John G. says:

      Ignorant superstition comes in many different forms, including anti-religious bigotry.

      1. SOMAtwocents says:

        Also in the form of a pathetic attempt at an intelligent comment that fall miserably short. Go back bury your feeble dim wit in your bible or other nonsense!

  2. oldfart says:

    the MTA is taxing the Middle class out of the City, If you can not afford to go to church in the city then they move to the suburbs.

    1. unknown says:

      have you not heard of public transit much cheaper than gas and move I will be happy to help you for free

  3. unknown says:

    To the MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION,OR MUNI GOOD,GREAT IDEA IN SanFrancisco,a car is not needed

    1. Uncle Clyde says:

      Public transportation in the city, Great way to meet God.

  4. NoHateSF says:

    I think EVERY San Francisco driver should start LEGALLY double parking right down the middle of the street EVERYWHERE.

    Why does SFPD allow churches to CONSTANTLY do this, causing traffic jams, repeated lane changes by all moving vehicles, and collisions as a result?

    Is MUNI use against someone’s religion, or something? MUNI=Satan, I guess.

  5. walk/bike/bus/drive says:

    “some of them are doing some of the greatest work in offering food pantries to the city and providing social services”
    By that logic, SF should offer blanket free parking near any organization doing work that benefits the public, whether on Sunday or not. Free parking zones around nonprofits? how about medical clinics? meditation centers with lunchtime sits?
    Where would it end?

  6. jjsmack says:

    If the church was built before cars existed and functioned well at the time, they should do just fine even without a parking lot now, no?

  7. jr says:

    “A lot of these congregations are in very poor areas…”

    I would say a first step out of poverty is to sell your car and take the bus. I am not poor, and I still CHOOSE to take the bus. Imagine that.

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