BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
Mountain View city leaders voted late last night (June 11) to move ahead on a plan to open two parking lots to a total of 60 RVs, allowing their owners to park their vehicles overnight and sleep in them.
The “safe parking program” would open up to 20 RVs at Shoreline Amphitheatre on a temporary basis, and to 40 RVs in a lot at E. Evelyn Avenue and Pioneer Way owned by VTA.
The program follows the opening of one in East Palo Alto. Palo Alto City Council indicated interest in starting a similar program on Monday night.
The Mountain View police counted 171 RVs, 36 vans or SUVs and five box trucks and buses that appeared to be inhabited while parked on city streets. In December, there were 11% more RVs, 60% more passenger vehicles and 44% more box trucks and buses.
After discussing the RV parking lots, the council was set to discuss banning RVs from city streets, an agenda item that started past the Post’s deadline.
The council discussed other opportunities for RVs to park off city streets. Wal-Mart, which has a national policy of allowing RV parking overnight, accommodates car campers at its Mountain View store, which is technically against city rules but isn’t enforced.
Council members indicated that they want to allow property owners in non-residential areas to open up their lots to vehicle dwellers if they choose. In residential areas, property owners — like churches, for example — can apply for a conditional use permit.
Some vehicle-dwellers already find refuge in such lots.
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church currently donates four parking spaces to car campers overnight and wants to expand its program to accommodate 10 car campers, possibly opening up the lot to RVs.
The Rev. Lisa McIndoo told council that one of the church’s nightly campers is an 85-year-old woman who sleeps sitting up every night. She is on a housing list and checks in with the church manager almost every other day, but hasn’t found housing yet.
Other St. Timothy’s campers have included a Mountain View High School student and her mother, and a 67-year-old couple who lived in Sunnyvale for 35 years but became homeless when they both got sick and couldn’t afford rent anymore.
Middle school lot an option
Mountain View Whisman School District Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph told the council last night that his school board was interested in opening up a parking lot to the district’s 28 families who live in RVs. He said the parking lot would be at one of the district’s middle schools.