News

Mountain View hits pause on enforcing its RV parking ban

Sweeping restrictions on oversized vehicle parking won't be enforced until April 5

Inhabited RVs along Crisanto Avenue, where "No Parking" signs will soon be posted. Photo by Sammy Dallal.

Mountain View won't enforce its sweeping restrictions on oversized vehicle parking until this spring, following an agreement to delay a legal challenge against the city's ordinances.

The 90-day stay of litigation, filed in federal court in San Jose, orders that the city suspend enforcement of its RV parking ban on streets with bike lanes and streets that are 40 feet wide or narrower, the latter of which encompasses 88 miles of roadway and the large majority of city streets.

The agreement means RVs and other large vehicles running afoul of the pair of ordinances will not be ticketed or towed until April 5, including the more than 200 inhabited vehicles currently parked along public roads.

Legal advocacy groups sued the city of Mountain View in July last year, calling the parking restrictions a blatant attempt to prevent homeless people residing in Mountain View from seeking shelter in vehicles. A U.S. federal court judge declined to dismiss the case, but also decided against an injunction to prevent the laws from taking effect while the lawsuit makes its way through the courts.

The stay of litigation, according to the court filing, gives both parties more time to "engage in settlement discussions" while pushing back the entire schedule of court proceedings. The trial itself, originally scheduled for Dec. 12, has been pushed out to March 2023.

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In a statement Monday, Jan. 10, Mountain View city officials said the 90-day stay will give them more time to try to resolve the lawsuit, and that the city still reserves the right to seek voluntary compliance with the parking rules. The city can also still ticket or tow vehicles that present a public health or safety issue.

Enforcement of the parking restrictions has been both lax and slow to start, particularly the narrow streets ordinance. The law was approved in December 2020, but the city did not begin installing "No Parking" signs until August 2021. And at a court hearing in October, attorneys representing the city pointed out that the Mountain View police had yet to tow any vehicles for violating either of the ordinances.

Signs prohibiting oversized vehicle parking have been installed on hundreds of city streets under new parking restrictions. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The light enforcement and focus on voluntary compliance was a key argument by the city to avoid an injunction on the RV parking prohibitions, which required proof that vehicle dwellers would be irreparably harmed if the laws were to go into effect. The agreement reached last week not only extends that moratorium on towing, but also makes it a requirement under a court order.

Erin Neff, an attorney at the Law Foundation, said the agreement with the city means vehicle residents will be allowed to stay in place regardless of the "No Parking" signs and notifications put up over the next three months. She said the city "insists" that they do not want to displace people from Mountain View in the event there are no spaces on alternative streets or in safe parking sites.

"We are hopeful that during this time people living in oversized vehicles will feel safe that they will not be forced from their hometown," Neff said. "We are also hopeful that settlement negotiations will lead to a more humane way of addressing the growing homelessness in the Mountain View."

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Though the lawsuit takes aim at both the bike lane ordinance and the narrow streets ordinance, the latter has been far more controversial. It was immediately subject to a voter referendum and was placed on the November 2020 ballot as Measure C, where it was passed by city voters by a comfortable margin.

Given the large scope of the ordinance, the city estimated it would need to fabricate and install about 2,600 signs along 435 of the city's 526 public streets, at a cost of $980,000. The installation of the signs has been done in phases, starting in the Monta Loma, Farley and Rock Street neighborhoods and working roughly clockwise through the city.

The final phase of sign installation, which includes the San Antonio, Rengstorff and Del Medio areas of the city, is expected to begin this month, which includes Crisanto Avenue, where a large number of RVs are parked.

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Mountain View hits pause on enforcing its RV parking ban

Sweeping restrictions on oversized vehicle parking won't be enforced until April 5

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Mon, Jan 10, 2022, 10:33 am

Mountain View won't enforce its sweeping restrictions on oversized vehicle parking until this spring, following an agreement to delay a legal challenge against the city's ordinances.

The 90-day stay of litigation, filed in federal court in San Jose, orders that the city suspend enforcement of its RV parking ban on streets with bike lanes and streets that are 40 feet wide or narrower, the latter of which encompasses 88 miles of roadway and the large majority of city streets.

The agreement means RVs and other large vehicles running afoul of the pair of ordinances will not be ticketed or towed until April 5, including the more than 200 inhabited vehicles currently parked along public roads.

Legal advocacy groups sued the city of Mountain View in July last year, calling the parking restrictions a blatant attempt to prevent homeless people residing in Mountain View from seeking shelter in vehicles. A U.S. federal court judge declined to dismiss the case, but also decided against an injunction to prevent the laws from taking effect while the lawsuit makes its way through the courts.

The stay of litigation, according to the court filing, gives both parties more time to "engage in settlement discussions" while pushing back the entire schedule of court proceedings. The trial itself, originally scheduled for Dec. 12, has been pushed out to March 2023.

In a statement Monday, Jan. 10, Mountain View city officials said the 90-day stay will give them more time to try to resolve the lawsuit, and that the city still reserves the right to seek voluntary compliance with the parking rules. The city can also still ticket or tow vehicles that present a public health or safety issue.

Enforcement of the parking restrictions has been both lax and slow to start, particularly the narrow streets ordinance. The law was approved in December 2020, but the city did not begin installing "No Parking" signs until August 2021. And at a court hearing in October, attorneys representing the city pointed out that the Mountain View police had yet to tow any vehicles for violating either of the ordinances.

The light enforcement and focus on voluntary compliance was a key argument by the city to avoid an injunction on the RV parking prohibitions, which required proof that vehicle dwellers would be irreparably harmed if the laws were to go into effect. The agreement reached last week not only extends that moratorium on towing, but also makes it a requirement under a court order.

Erin Neff, an attorney at the Law Foundation, said the agreement with the city means vehicle residents will be allowed to stay in place regardless of the "No Parking" signs and notifications put up over the next three months. She said the city "insists" that they do not want to displace people from Mountain View in the event there are no spaces on alternative streets or in safe parking sites.

"We are hopeful that during this time people living in oversized vehicles will feel safe that they will not be forced from their hometown," Neff said. "We are also hopeful that settlement negotiations will lead to a more humane way of addressing the growing homelessness in the Mountain View."

Though the lawsuit takes aim at both the bike lane ordinance and the narrow streets ordinance, the latter has been far more controversial. It was immediately subject to a voter referendum and was placed on the November 2020 ballot as Measure C, where it was passed by city voters by a comfortable margin.

Given the large scope of the ordinance, the city estimated it would need to fabricate and install about 2,600 signs along 435 of the city's 526 public streets, at a cost of $980,000. The installation of the signs has been done in phases, starting in the Monta Loma, Farley and Rock Street neighborhoods and working roughly clockwise through the city.

The final phase of sign installation, which includes the San Antonio, Rengstorff and Del Medio areas of the city, is expected to begin this month, which includes Crisanto Avenue, where a large number of RVs are parked.

Comments

Tal Shaya
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Jan 10, 2022 at 11:06 am
Tal Shaya, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 11:06 am

I was homeless for years. Really homeless. Not "living in an RV" homeless. There are three types of homeless people: mentally ill, drug users (including alcoholics), and people who are trying to beat the system.

Those are the chronically homeless. The rest are short-term. They get jobs. Any answer which doesn't include mental health counseling, drug treatment or job placement isn't a solution.

There's no expectation or right to sleep on city streets. If you allow that, you will only get more homeless.


Dirk Peterson
Registered user
another community
on Jan 10, 2022 at 11:42 am
Dirk Peterson , another community
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 11:42 am

"There are three types of homeless people: mentally ill, drug users (including alcoholics), and people who are trying to beat the system."

You neglected to add those who are homeless due to economic circumstances (a lost job, rent increases/eviction etc.).


Ashley Nguyen
Registered user
North Whisman
on Jan 10, 2022 at 12:58 pm
Ashley Nguyen, North Whisman
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 12:58 pm

Transient RVs are kind of like the covered wagons of the 19th century...people trying to find a place to eventually settle and being ostracized as squatters during the course of their pitstops.

As long as these RVs are not parked on someone's private property, what is the big deal?


Tal Shaya
Registered user
another community
on Jan 10, 2022 at 1:00 pm
Tal Shaya, another community
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 1:00 pm

@dirk, yes I did mention that. People who are homeless due to job loss find another job. They are not chronically homeless. Nobody says, "I got fired, so I'll buy an RV." The RV homeless are there by choice.


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Jan 10, 2022 at 2:24 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 2:24 pm

Ashley, maybe you should have a few RV squatters in front of your house. Offer them your water spigot, sewer clean out and MV Recology trash can. Thats what is wrong with living on the streets. You have no services. You use shopping center trash cans and bathrooms. Hope the storm drain dumping goes unnoticed and find an accessible water spigot, like a car wash or gas station. You are smooching of other people who pay for these services.
@Tal Shaya thank you for sharing your perspective.
@Randy who only comments here when he can accuse me of something: Save yourself a posting, this thread is about squatters, people playing the system because our City still welcomes RV dwellers from everywhere.


Johnny Yuma
Registered user
Blossom Valley
on Jan 10, 2022 at 2:36 pm
Johnny Yuma, Blossom Valley
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 2:36 pm

Frankly, I’m tired of the pissing war between those who are sympathetic to RV dwellers and those who aren’t. I would like the moderators to suspend the comments on this topic. How many times do we need to read the same arguments from the same people? For those compelled to grind on with this topic, post it on Nextdoor…


Otto Maddox
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:06 pm
Otto Maddox, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:06 pm

If you don't like a topic, or the comments, don't read them. Why do you want them banned?


Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:07 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:07 pm

Nice to read a civil discussion. I agree with @Tal Shaya about the categorization of homeless people. No amount of money is going to change it (just look at SF after spending $1B/yr). Restricting the RV camping is a safety and health issue. Voters decided and the city has placed signs. No one in a RV will be uninformed of the policy.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:31 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:31 pm

Polomom, I'm glad you're thinking of me! Still, I'm at a loss why everyone is categorizing and discussing homeless people. As the city is stating in court, these bans are targeting oversized vehicles for traffic safety concerns! They've stated over and over that they are not doing this to get rid of homeless people in our town.

Why are you so confused about this?


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:37 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 3:37 pm

Not to mention these people aren't homeless! They live in an RV is all.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jan 10, 2022 at 4:01 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 4:01 pm

LongResident, if you think you've made a good point, perhaps you should consider this: home is where the heart is, so can *anyone* even be considered homeless?


Greg David
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2022 at 4:33 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 4:33 pm

What’s another million dollars down the drain? We can afford it, right? Mountain View has plenty of our taxpayer dollars to waste.

Frankly, I oppose people living in RV’s on the streets, but I voted against the measure because it was a misguided blanket solution to a very particular problem. It does nothing to get those you want to be in permanent housing into such housing. It does nothing to stop tradesmen from living in their high end RV’s while working here and living permanently elsewhere. It doesn’t even stop commuting City of Mountain View employees from living in RV’s despite the fact they can stay for free in city provided housing. What it does do is discriminate against tax paying residents. The size limits are arbitrary and the safety issue is questionable. If I want to park my travel trailer in front of my residence for a few days to prepare it for a trip, I am unable to do that, despite nobody caring otherwise and no parking issues where I live. Technically speaking, I can’t even park my little Sprinter van, which has the same footprint as a car, because it happens to stand over 7ft tall. But I guess we’re “doing something”, right. What we’re doing is wasting money. But don’t get me started…..


Concerned
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2022 at 7:38 pm
Concerned, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 7:38 pm

Greg David - if you read the street signs in the small print you can read that exemptions are available for your Travel Trailer and Van.


Concerned
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2022 at 7:54 pm
Concerned, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 7:54 pm

Mountain View is working overtime to turn our fair city into a failed city such as many parts of San Francisco. In SF people and businesses are leaving and the honeymoon with tech workers is over. This will happen in MV if you have oversized vehicles by your home, apartment or business.

The county is pushing its issues into Mountain View and the city council says come on down. A regional approach is needed where all cities do their bit to work on these serious issues. Right now most local cities are giving the County the finger and pushing oversized vehicles to MV.


David Theil
Registered user
Whisman Station
on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:05 pm
David Theil, Whisman Station
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:05 pm

“ these bans are targeting oversized vehicles for traffic safety concerns! ”

That’s how it was marketed to get votes and it suckered me in too…until I went out and measured some streets. 40 feet Could easily accommodate two 7 foot wide vehicles and still permit two semi tractor trailer trucks to get past one another with room to spare. 40 feet -14 ft = 26 fee. 16 wheelers are restricted to 8.5 feet width). “ Traffic safety” was a deceptive fig leaf to get more votes. And it worked.

Meanwhile near my house is a street (Annie Laurie) that’s maybe 25 feet wide, and the are no rules against passenger vehicles parking on both sides. There is often 12-13 feet available between them for 2 lanes of traffic. Traffic safety was not the motive for this ordinance!


Alexander
Registered user
Rex Manor
on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:19 pm
Alexander, Rex Manor
Registered user
on Jan 10, 2022 at 10:19 pm

@Tal Shaya It's not a question of "buying an RV" to beat the system - many RV residents do not own the RVs in question - they rent them from predatory "landlords". Many are working in Mountain View as gardeners, nurses, etc., and this is simply the only way they can afford to live here.

I understand the frustration of people with the downsides of RV street dwelling. I hope the city addresses issues with the safe parking program to make it more broadly appealing (when I last checked the lots were not running at capacity). This would enable us to move forward with the ban while still ensuring this is a place that working people can live.

If we want Mountain View to remain a viable place to live, we need to reframe our thinking - it's not a homelessness problem, it's an affordability problem. If the only people who can afford to live here are tech workers and people who bought homes 40 years ago, Mountain View will die. This is why I support higher density housing in future planning areas (North Bayshore, Charleston Plaza, etc.).


Tal Shaya
Registered user
another community
on Jan 11, 2022 at 8:04 pm
Tal Shaya, another community
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2022 at 8:04 pm

Alex, speaking as someone who's been there, I don't think allowing people to sleep in their cars is noble, or any kind of a solution. We have a high minimum wage in this town. Anyone who works 40 hours a week can afford to share a room or even rent a studio like I do.

According to Indeed, a nurse in Mountain View earns over $60/hour. So the idea that nurses, etc. must lve in RVs on public streets is laughable. You're making stuff up.

I'm not going to pretend this issue is only about bike lane hazards. It is not kind to "allow" homelessness. If people want to camp, then go to a campground.


Tal Shaya
Registered user
another community
on Jan 11, 2022 at 8:14 pm
Tal Shaya, another community
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2022 at 8:14 pm

Most of the vehicles are parked next to Rengsdorff Park because there are showers and bathrooms. And a work center around the corner. 'No question that for the vehicle dweller, it's paradise. But it's not fair to residents of the city. It's not safe. (There was gunfire in the park just a few weeks ago.) The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


MV Resident
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Jan 11, 2022 at 9:16 pm
MV Resident, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2022 at 9:16 pm

If you support the RV folks parking on public streets then you should also support the poor homeless with tents being allowed to park their tents on sidewalks. I have met many homeless and bought them meals. One I recollect had moved to Mountain View from Los Angles as he had heard the services in Mountain View were good.


Randy Guelph
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Jan 11, 2022 at 10:55 pm
Randy Guelph, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2022 at 10:55 pm

MV Resident, as the city says, the RV ban has absolutely nothing to do with homeless people parking on public streets. It's about traffic safety! Stick to the right message!

Tal, I know it's a side point, but I wonder: which of your three categories of homeless people do you belong to?


Greg David
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Jan 12, 2022 at 9:58 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Jan 12, 2022 at 9:58 pm

@Concerned

You have no idea what you are talking about.

I order to “legally” park my Van or Travel Trailer in front of my residence, I would have to apply 4-6 days in advance and pay $16 for a one day parking permit. That is hardly an “exemption”

Web Link


Harvey Chen
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Jan 15, 2022 at 12:50 pm
Harvey Chen, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Jan 15, 2022 at 12:50 pm

A true Christian would have empathy for the homeless whether they are out on the streets or living in an RV.

Compassion and assistance are paramount to being a civilized society.

And to have contempt for the homeless is neither Christian nor civilized.

As Americans we can do much better than chastising those less fortunate than ourselves.

Then again, no one ever said America was a true Christian society that follows the paths and teachings of Jesus.

Just self-serving hypocrites.


minor character
Registered user
Old Mountain View
2 hours ago
minor character, Old Mountain View
Registered user
2 hours ago

I wonder if the ban would have been voter approved if voters knew ahead of time that it involved installing so many (ugly) additional posts and signs in front of their homes, at substantial cost.
Next time I hope this will be made clear.


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