Guest opinion: Lots of potential

Safe parking program seeks room to grow in Mountain View

Lots of Love, Mountain View's new safe parking program, has been up and running since July 9. Undoubtedly you have seen multiple news articles touting various perspectives and expectations for clearing the streets of RVs and providing safe places for our vehicle-dwelling neighbors to sleep. There have been high hopes, laments about a slow start, and predictions of small and fleeting benefits. While no one knows the final outcome, we, the Lots of Love team, want to share with the community what is happening, how we see progress over the next year, and opportunities to be involved.

The Lots of Love (LoL) program is the first program of Move Mountain View, a faith-based nonprofit established to benefit those struggling in this increasingly challenging economy. LoL receives funding from the city of Mountain View and Santa Clara County. LoL aims to provide a safe and dependable place for vehicle dwellers to spend the night while engaging in ongoing case management through the Community Services Agency. Case management focuses on helping clients make positive steps toward traditional housing. LoL is modeled after the program run by New Beginnings Counseling Center in Santa Barbara. This program, running since 2004, currently offering 133 spaces in 24 different lots.

Currently we provide overnight parking for six vehicles at two church sites. We have served guests associated with nine vehicles, each staying three to four weeks on average. Of the nine served, three are either in or on their way to permanent housing in the next month.

Both of the initial two churches have had positive and uneventful experiences. One of the churches now knows that vehicles have been parking in their lot at night prior to the program kickoff. The guests have been vigilant in reporting trespassing and suspicious activity as they protect their temporary homes.

Currently the program is operating at capacity, filling the six available spots in the two lots. The city of Mountain View allows up to four vehicles to be parked in a lot without a special permit. We are in active discussion for new lots with an additional five churches in Mountain View and eight others in surrounding communities. We are challenged to find lots open to hosting the RVs; the current lots only accept passenger vehicles. Our goal is to be serving 20 vehicles by June 2019 and 40 by June 2020.

So how can you help? If you are a church or business interested in hosting a few cars or RVs please contact LoL. We'd love to walk you through the program and have you consider partnering with us.

If you are a resident, please contact our City Council and urge them to consider opening up city-owned lots that might be more appropriate for RVs. Also ask the council to streamline the process for permitting larger lots. We have one large lot on the hook but the process to get to a permit is long and complicated. Just a couple larger lots supporting 10 vehicles each will move us a long way to our goal.

If you are a neighbor to one of the potential lots, LoL promises to meet with you and inform you ahead of time what will be happening. LoL will work with you to tailor site-specific operations to best suit the neighborhood. We can be flexible about hours of operation, numbers and types of cars, and guest demographics. While we recognize that hosting vehicles in your neighborhood can be scary, I want to challenge and encourage us all to open our hearts and neighborhoods to those struggling to find a place to sleep.

After three months, the program seems to be working. We are poised and ready to expand the number of vehicles we host. Please join with us in opening up new lots. At the upcoming Oct. 9 City Council meeting, the council will be considering options for larger lots. Please urge the council to make city-owned lots available and to streamline the process for permitting larger lots.

You can reach us at or 650-861-0181.

Dave Arnone is a Mountain View resident and director of Move Mountain View.

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12 people like this
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

Thank you for running this program! Everyone needs a safe place to stay. I am encouraged to hear that some past guests are on the path to permanent housing.

30 people like this
Posted by Not an RV Solution
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm

Kudos to those organizing this program - it's promising, and should be helpful to those selected to participate.

That said, it's not a solution to the RVs parked all over residential neighborhoods, adjacent to parks, and encroached in bike lanes on busier streets.

Council points to programs like LoL, and avoids dealing with the RV issue. Removing 12 (or maybe it's just 6) RVs from the 300-400+ parked throughout Mountain View doesn't make even a small dent...and those 6-12 spots have already probably been backfilled by new arrivers.

In council candidate forums (and at council meetings), residents should demand a specific plan and timetable for addressing this issue. At a minimum, it's hard to fathom that RVs are allowed directly next to our parks, where families and young children (often alone) come to enjoy a safe and serene environment. There have also been anecdotes of RVs in neighborhoods dumping waste in rainwater drains.

C'mon council, get with it!

31 people like this
Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

I'm all for private businesses and individuals choosing to share their property as they see fit.

However, the city should not fund or encourage this sort of vagrancy.

8 people like this
Posted by BJ
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 8, 2018 at 2:50 pm


18 people like this
Posted by Old Time MV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 9, 2018 at 10:39 am

Your heart is in the right place, but really - only 6 spots, with hundreds of RVs in and around the city of MV is hardly "working". That coupled with the fact that your program has been up and running for many many months now, certainly dictates that we need another solution.

We need a more aggressive stance to rid our nice town of unsightly RVs in the neighborhood. AND to help these people. But the good residents of MV should not have to have our city have RVs parked in the interim.

Pat Showalter has been one Councilmember that has been voting against helping us move the RVs off our streets.

I highly suggest you consider voting Showalter OUT this November; she is not helping this situation at all. Vote OUT Showalter.

17 people like this
Posted by @Old Time MV Resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2018 at 1:08 pm

Do not forget to add Siegel and Ramerize as people too NOT Vote for. They are both in favor of allowing RV's to stay on the streets.

9 people like this
Posted by New council needed
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 9, 2018 at 8:59 pm

This is a great idea but without additional enforcement this will never work. Just look at the Santa Barbara and San Diego ordinances and you'll see RVs are not tolerated on the streets:

Web Link

Web Link

This seems to be completely lost on the current council: one only needs to look back at the 3/6/18 council meeting when Siegel, Showalter, Rosenberg and Clark voted against additional enforcement to curb the RV issue. I definitely know who not to vote for.

9 people like this
Posted by vote for inks & kamei
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 9, 2018 at 9:59 pm

The current council seems incapable of solving the rv problem. Both ramirez and siegal claim that they want enforcement of the RHC. What does that mean? What a smear job. Neither of them has sat through a complete meeting of the rhc. They are getting all of their biased information from the tenant groups. The RHC is enforcing the ordinance correctly. Its the greedy tenants that want to screw small landlords more. Even a judge supported the RHC's decision to not include mobile homes. He slammed the other side. The tenant group shoiuld file a lawsuit if the think the RHC is violating the ord.inance. Of course thay wont because they know the RHC is doing its job correctly

I say vote for Kamei and Inks. They are the only adults running for council

10 people like this
Posted by Public Safety First
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2018 at 12:26 am

The number of RVs have created a dangerous amount of blind streets. Most cases, it's either a toss-up of inching out so far and risking getting T-boned, or coming dangerously close to hitting a cyclist/scooter/motorist. On Shoreline, I have seen RVs parked dangerously close to the pedestrian crosswalks, so that you cannot see if someone is waiting there, and then steps out.

I'm sorry that so many people have to live in their vehicles. What I regret even more is that the City Council has absconded their pledge to uphold public safety.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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