SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is set to vote Tuesday to legalize median parking on Dolores Street on weekends despite opposition from those who live in the area.

The 16-month pilot program would allow parallel parking next to the median on sections of Dolores between 14th and 18th streets on Friday evening, Saturday morning and all day Sunday.

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The pilot program would include signage spelling out the hours when median parking is allowed and will eliminate some parking within intersections and at the end of medians to make it easier for emergency vehicles to get through.

Enforcement efforts will include a one-month grace period where drivers are served with warnings for violations, followed by a period of intense enforcement, according to SFMTA staff.

City staff will also form a neighborhood committee to provide feedback on how the pilot program is working and monitor compliance levels.

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While parking in the median is currently illegal, it has been a common practice for decades on Sunday among those attending churches in the area and the prohibition is largely unenforced. The practice, sometimes referred to as “parking for God,” has created some resentment among residents who feel like churchgoers are getting special treatment.

The SFMTA convened an advisory committee last year made up of religious leaders, business owners and residents to explore the issue and make a recommendation. The group voted against allowing median parking, but SFMTA staff did not pass that vote along to the board as a formal recommendation because it did not win the vote of the majority of the group.

A survey conducted by SFMTA staff found that 74 percent of residents in the area supported discontinuing median parking altogether, while 95 percent of those who worship in the area, many of whom drive in from other areas, opposed discontinuing the parking.

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