See how Mountain View’s RV hotspots have shifted since the city began enforcing its oversized vehicle rules

RVs along Terra Bella Avenue in Mountain View on Jan. 10, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

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See how Mountain View’s RV hotspots have shifted since the city began enforcing its oversized vehicle rules

RVs along Terra Bella Avenue in Mountain View on Jan. 10, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

New data released by the city last month shows where RV dwellers are concentrated since the city began enforcing its oversized vehicle rules last October, a change that impacted the vehicle dwelling community in big ways, practically overnight.

But the new rules didn’t come without warning. The pair of ordinances were originally passed in 2019, prohibiting oversized vehicles from parking on narrow streets and streets with bike lanes, but enforcement was delayed – first by a voter referendum, and then a federal lawsuit.

Once the suit was settled in August last year, Mountain View announced that it would begin enforcing the rules on October 1. Per the settlement, the city is required to offer at least three miles of public roadway where RVs are allowed to park, and distribute maps to all RV residents showing where they can legally go.

Even so, many people living in RVs had to uproot and find a new place to park when the rules came into effect. Oversized vehicles were now prohibited from parking on streets like Crisanto Avenue and Continental Circle. Once lined bumper-to-bumper with RVs, these hotspots were suddenly abandoned.

City data shows that since the new rules came into effect, the overall number of inhabited vehicles in Mountain View has dropped by about 30%. But even before the city began enforcing the ordinances in October, the concentration of vehicle dwellers in various parts of the city was already starting to shift.

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Comparing a count taken in January 2022 and August 2022, Crisanto Avenue went from 62 inhabited vehicles to 48, and Continental Circle dropped from 33 to 26 – indicating that people were starting to leave these areas even before they were required to.

Last month, the city released a third count taken in January 2023, offering insight into where people are parking with enforcement in full swing. According to the data, there are now zero inhabited vehicles parked on Crisanto and Continental.

Meanwhile, other parts of the city have seen a notable increase. The Leghorn Street area had just eight inhabited vehicles parked in January 2022, but 29 vehicles a year later. Casey Avenue went from hosting 12 vehicles to 23. And Ortega Avenue went from having practically zero inhabited vehicles last year, to seven this year.

Overall, the number of inhabited vehicles dropped significantly in the city, from 216 in January 2022, to 151 in January 2023. Click between the maps to see how RV locations in the city have shifted.

Where are the RVs going?

Days after enforcement began in October, residents living in vehicles told the Voice that the rules made them feel uncertain about the future. The day the city began imposing the RV rules, it also resumed enforcing parking rules that were relaxed during the pandemic, like the citywide 72-hour parking limit – meaning people living in RVs must move their homes every three days.

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“We’ve been trying to find places to move and there wasn’t enough places for everybody,” RV resident Melissa Barbosa told the Voice at the time. “I drove around the few spots that were on that map, and there’s not very many.”

Dave Arnone, an advocate for the unhoused community who delivers meals to RV residents every week, believes there’s a combination of reasons why the number of inhabited vehicles is shrinking.

“I know of one man, an immigrant, who lived on Crisanto for a long time in an inoperable vehicle,” Arnone said. “When things came down on Crisanto, he couldn’t take the vehicle with him, and he is now going back and forth between living in the Sunnyvale shelter and living under a bridge.”

But the number of RVs on Mountain View streets is also going down because people are getting housed, Arnone said. He talked about one family who used to live in an RV in the Gemini Street area. They have since moved out of the county to be closer to family, and are living in an apartment, he said.

“I’ve probably seen more people get housed in the last few months than I’ve ever seen,” Arnone said.

City officials agree that there’s “no one reason for the decline in inhabited vehicles in Mountain View, like there is not one solution to homelessness,” Chief Communications Officer Lenka Wright said in a May 16 statement.

“The city will continue to strive for homelessness solutions and engage deeply with our partners that do this impactful work directly with individuals experiencing homelessness or unstable housing situations,” Wright added.

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Malea Martin
Malea Martin covers the city hall beat in Mountain View. Before joining the Mountain View Voice in 2022, she covered local politics and education for New Times San Luis Obispo, a weekly newspaper on the Central Coast of California. Read more >>

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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See how Mountain View’s RV hotspots have shifted since the city began enforcing its oversized vehicle rules

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, May 26, 2023, 1:22 pm

New data released by the city last month shows where RV dwellers are concentrated since the city began enforcing its oversized vehicle rules last October, a change that impacted the vehicle dwelling community in big ways, practically overnight.

But the new rules didn’t come without warning. The pair of ordinances were originally passed in 2019, prohibiting oversized vehicles from parking on narrow streets and streets with bike lanes, but enforcement was delayed – first by a voter referendum, and then a federal lawsuit.

Once the suit was settled in August last year, Mountain View announced that it would begin enforcing the rules on October 1. Per the settlement, the city is required to offer at least three miles of public roadway where RVs are allowed to park, and distribute maps to all RV residents showing where they can legally go.

Even so, many people living in RVs had to uproot and find a new place to park when the rules came into effect. Oversized vehicles were now prohibited from parking on streets like Crisanto Avenue and Continental Circle. Once lined bumper-to-bumper with RVs, these hotspots were suddenly abandoned.

City data shows that since the new rules came into effect, the overall number of inhabited vehicles in Mountain View has dropped by about 30%. But even before the city began enforcing the ordinances in October, the concentration of vehicle dwellers in various parts of the city was already starting to shift.

Comparing a count taken in January 2022 and August 2022, Crisanto Avenue went from 62 inhabited vehicles to 48, and Continental Circle dropped from 33 to 26 – indicating that people were starting to leave these areas even before they were required to.

Last month, the city released a third count taken in January 2023, offering insight into where people are parking with enforcement in full swing. According to the data, there are now zero inhabited vehicles parked on Crisanto and Continental.

Meanwhile, other parts of the city have seen a notable increase. The Leghorn Street area had just eight inhabited vehicles parked in January 2022, but 29 vehicles a year later. Casey Avenue went from hosting 12 vehicles to 23. And Ortega Avenue went from having practically zero inhabited vehicles last year, to seven this year.

Overall, the number of inhabited vehicles dropped significantly in the city, from 216 in January 2022, to 151 in January 2023. Click between the maps to see how RV locations in the city have shifted.

Where are the RVs going?

Days after enforcement began in October, residents living in vehicles told the Voice that the rules made them feel uncertain about the future. The day the city began imposing the RV rules, it also resumed enforcing parking rules that were relaxed during the pandemic, like the citywide 72-hour parking limit – meaning people living in RVs must move their homes every three days.

“We’ve been trying to find places to move and there wasn’t enough places for everybody,” RV resident Melissa Barbosa told the Voice at the time. “I drove around the few spots that were on that map, and there’s not very many.”

Dave Arnone, an advocate for the unhoused community who delivers meals to RV residents every week, believes there’s a combination of reasons why the number of inhabited vehicles is shrinking.

“I know of one man, an immigrant, who lived on Crisanto for a long time in an inoperable vehicle,” Arnone said. “When things came down on Crisanto, he couldn’t take the vehicle with him, and he is now going back and forth between living in the Sunnyvale shelter and living under a bridge.”

But the number of RVs on Mountain View streets is also going down because people are getting housed, Arnone said. He talked about one family who used to live in an RV in the Gemini Street area. They have since moved out of the county to be closer to family, and are living in an apartment, he said.

“I’ve probably seen more people get housed in the last few months than I’ve ever seen,” Arnone said.

City officials agree that there’s “no one reason for the decline in inhabited vehicles in Mountain View, like there is not one solution to homelessness,” Chief Communications Officer Lenka Wright said in a May 16 statement.

“The city will continue to strive for homelessness solutions and engage deeply with our partners that do this impactful work directly with individuals experiencing homelessness or unstable housing situations,” Wright added.

Comments

Keyzer Soze
Registered user
Rex Manor
on May 26, 2023 at 3:23 pm
Keyzer Soze , Rex Manor
Registered user
on May 26, 2023 at 3:23 pm

It is Great news that more people are getting housed than before the ban. One family found a perfect solution - moved to another county where they could afford to rent an apartment.


SalsaMusic
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on May 26, 2023 at 3:37 pm
SalsaMusic, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on May 26, 2023 at 3:37 pm

Good. TBH cycling is a lot safer without those big bulky blocks creating blind spots. Thank you MTV voters. It’s too bad Lucas Ramirez was so adamant about not wanting to enact what the people wanted and was forced to do so via a formal public vote on the matter. The data is clear that the RVs simply didn’t shift…as he had claimed would happen. the absolute number went down. The RVs are putting the citizens of MV in less dangerous situations. The streets are cleaner, it’s safer to drive and bicycle without the mess and visual obstruction they created.


SalsaMusic
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on May 26, 2023 at 3:39 pm
SalsaMusic, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on May 26, 2023 at 3:39 pm

The new rules forced RV dwellers to take action. Inertia is a strong sticky force. I’m hopeful in most cases it forced them to move to better situations rather than sit around. The power of a nudge.


Jay
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 26, 2023 at 4:41 pm
Jay, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 26, 2023 at 4:41 pm

Who is this new author Malea Martin and what happened to the other one? Her articles are usually very pro-rent control and also pro-homeless RV and have an agenda, so I feel like there must be new management at The Voice because this is just sticking to the facts. Whatever the reason, this is a step in the right direction for the paper.





Rouel - Urban Living
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 26, 2023 at 6:00 pm
Rouel - Urban Living, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 26, 2023 at 6:00 pm

Parking for Motorhomes and Vehicles for urban living on the streets have shifted, and they need to shift a lot more, perhaps completely off the streets. It can be done, ... the city, the county, and the state have lands that can be purposed to create such 'Safe Parking' communities. It may seem that there might less vehicles in urban parking mode, but there is lots of news thru-out our country that shows that more and more seniors, + 55, have the need to resort to urban living, because of ever increasing rents on a low fixed income for seniors, and a percentage of these seniors have disabilities.
It does not have to be free, today most urban living citizens have a small income, ... small reasonable / affordable monthly rates can be afforded. Reasonable / affordable monthly rates should be precisely defined, perhaps, 25% of monthly full-time minimum wage after taxes. As such, financially self sustaining / supporting 'Safe Parking Lots' can be made to work, that would pay the cost of necessary infrastructure, such as potable water, garbage collection, porta-potty and shower services, security, on going cleanup / beautifucation, and more without a financial burden on the cities.
City, county, and state managers open eyes wide, see the sunami coming to our cities. Act now, and don't waste money with current spendings that don't seem to help. Since the current economic trends pushing for the ever increasing rents will never be reversed, then people in urban living mode will never be able to transition / afford rents. Spend money in creating these financially self sufficient 'Safe Parking Lots', it is cheaper in the long run. These financially self sufficient 'Safe Parking Lots' are not for profit; therefore, the cities, counties, and the state must do it, as corporations don't invest without profits for investors to get money without them working for it.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 27, 2023 at 2:55 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 27, 2023 at 2:55 pm

What about the RV safe parking sites? Has the usage of these gone down as well? Seems odd to leave that out of this story.


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