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SF Considers Legal Parking Lots for Homeless RV Dwellers

November 26, 2015

By : sfweekly – excerpt

You’ll find them on the desolate side streets of Potrero Hill and Bayview, along Golden Gate Park in the Sunset, and in other outlying neighborhoods: Campers and RVs parked in rows, their curtains drawn. Some are empty and sitting curbside because their owners don’t have space to lodge them elsewhere. But others are full-time homes on wheels.

More than 250 people live in their vehicles, according to the city’s latest homeless count. Nicholas Kimura of the Coalition on Homelessness says the real figure is likely much higher. And he says it’s time for San Francisco to give RV residents legal parking. Other cities have designated sanctioned overnight lots for the “vehicularly housed,” including San Diego, Santa Rosa, Ballard, Wash., and, soon perhaps, L.A.

“[San Francisco] has plenty of money and plenty of surplus property,” Kimura says, adding that the city’s current efforts to restrict street parking for oversized vehicles is ineffective at best, and discriminatory at worst…

Like Kimura, Thornley supports the idea of city-sanctioned RV lots. The problem is determining which agency would oversee them. During the last two years, representatives from the SFMTA, the Coalition on Homelessness, and Mayor Ed Lee’s office have met to discuss the issue, but have made little headway….

What is certain is that the SFMTA doesn’t want to play a “gatekeeping” function. Vetting who gets to park in an overnight lot isn’t the business of a transportation agency. Thornley calls parking “a very tender topic,” noting that some neighborhoods will object to what’s essentially a legal homeless encampment.

“It’s a geometry of space problem,” he says. “A problem of space versus sanctuary.”…(more)


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