‘Parking for God’ Now Permanent Every Weekend

Word comes down from on high at SFMTA that churchgoers may now continue to park along the Dolores Street median forever and ever, amen.

People have been parking along the median of Dolores Street on Sundays since the horse and buggy days, and the practice has long been illegal but never prosecuted. Now that longtime tradition has the perpetual blessing of the SFMTA going forward, as the organization’s board voted on Tuesday to make the informal habit nicknamed “Parking for God’ a permanent and legal Dolores Street weekend policy.

This one-off exclusion for Dolores Street only does not apply to the whole weekend. The board approved Dolores Street media parking all day Sunday up until 4:30 p.m., and for a few select hours on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. While this “Parking for God” has been going on for decades, it’s only been legal since April 2017 when SFMTA approved it as a pilot project.

Neighbors aren’t particularly fond of the practice, seeing it as a violation of the separation of church and state, and a disruption that is routinely abused by non-churchgoing motorists.  

“We found a strong interest from the community to see the practice stop,” SFMTA planner John Knox White admitted at the SFMTA  board meeting. “But also heard interest from the community to let the practice continue if the rules were less capricious and more fair.”

Interestingly, the San Francisco Examiner reports that there have been no complaints from neighbors during the 16-month pilot program, “save for one particularly-dedicated street-watcher.” The pilot program did not allow for parking on the medians adjacent to Dolores Park hill, a longtime abuse of the unsanctioned system that park partiers had exploited for years.

Mission Dolores Church is the best-known of the churches whose parishioners used the median parking, but the program is also meant to serve motorists attending the nearby Cornerstone Church and Congregation Sha’ar Zahav.  

For those of you attending services at one of the above congregations — or perhaps looking to game the system with some free parking while visiting Dolores Park — the median parking along Dolores Street is permanently allowed at these days, hours, and locations:

Fridays, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Dolores Street between Alert Alley and 16th Street, southbound only

Saturdays, 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Dolores Street between Alert Alley and 16th Street, southbound only

Sundays, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Dolores Street between 14th and 18th streets, both northbound and southbound


NOTE: This post has been updated with to correct weekend hours of this parking program.


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