Church leaders successfully persuaded California Pacific Medical Center to delay a weekend traffic closure on Van Ness Avenue so a temporary ban on street parking would not coincide with Easter weekend. [...] The detour, one in a series of lane closures on Van Ness, was originally supposed to happen last weekend. Now that it's been postponed, the two full traffic closures will coincide with the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and parade, which runs north on Polk Street, then west on Post Street. [...]
"If this street closure is allowed to occur it will force the SFIC and its constituent congregations and judicatories to respond to the City and the SFMTA with a unified message of condemnation," SF Interfaith Council Executive Director Michael Pappas wrote in a March 11 email to SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin. "I am appealing to you to intercede before this matter becomes irreversible." [...]
This wouldn't be the first time the SFMTA has conceded to church leaders' demands to maintain free parking. Church lobbying was apparently a major factor in Mayor Ed Lee's decision to repeal Sunday parking meters. For decades, double-parking churchgoers have also been given a free pass by SFMTA parking enforcement. At a 2013 supervisors hearing, an SFMTA parking enforcement official and former SFPD lieutenant called the Sunday exemption "part of San Francisco's history."
Here's one more taste of what Pappas feels entitled to when it comes to the management of public streets, through the prism of the CPMC detour:Like the SFMTA's previous failure to extend an invitation to a single congregation leader to sit at the stakeholder's table when conceiving its policy to institute Sunday meter parking, a policy it commenced on the sacred Christian feast day of Epiphany, adding insult to injury, the present attempt confirms that the SFMTA has once again failed in its civic obligation to undertake due diligence in consulting and considering those most directly impacted by its policies and actions.