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San Francisco Churches Resist Sunday Parking Meter Plan

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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