Ocean Beach Bulletin

Bay Area

Wall of RVs Targeted by Parking Proposal

Tom Prete/Ocean Beach Bulletin

Residents near the Lower Great Highway have complained that a wall of RVs parked there for long stretches is unsightly and prevents police from seeing illicit behavior.

For anyone with a big truck or camper, the Lower Great Highway might seem a wide-open paradise of plentiful parking and infrequent street sweeping. But residents near one stretch of this street hope that a new proposal will keep these vehicles from turning their neighborhood into a storage yard and prevent them from providing a wall that blocks illicit activity from the view of the public and the police.

“It’s looking like a large-vehicle storage area,” said John Zwolinski, who lives in the outer Sunset District near the Lower Great Highway and Golden Gate Park. Zwolinski also heads up a neighborhood watch group.

Zwolinski believes that many of the trucks and RVs parked on Lower Great Highway belong to people from other parts of San Francisco who find his neighborhood a convenient place to park their vehicles for free. And since City street sweepers only come once every two weeks, once a truck is parked it may not move for days.

“It’s almost impossible to tell” for sure if someone is living in the RVs parked in the area, said Zwolinski. But regardless of whether the vehicles are occupied, he said, he’s seen problems crop up when long strings of them are parked together.

“Oversize vehicles are taking up all the parking along certain corridors in the neighborhood, they’re blocking police line of sight on these streets, they’re causing blind spots in intersections. It’s dangerous,” he said.

“Behind these large vehicles the police can’t see to the side of the road. We’re finding illegal dumping. Litter. Needles. People are feeling uncomfortable … because it’s concealed. It’s providing a screen.”

These residents have taken their concerns to Supervisor Carmen Chu, who has proposed legislation to let City parking officials restrict where vehicles larger than 22 feet long or 7 feet high can park between midnight and 6 a.m. The Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee voted 3-0 to send the full board Supervisor Carmen Chu’s legislation.

“This is not a unique Sunset District problem,” said Chu, who represents District 4 at the board.

In fact, a 2011 report by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency states that 33 percent of the oversize vehicles parked in the city were found in District 10 and 29 percent in District 6. District 4 still had the third-most trucks and RVs in San Francisco: 16 percent of the oversize vehicles in the city, or 74 vehicles.

The Board of Supervisors can’t directly impose parking regulations, Chu explained. But her proposed legislation would allow the SFMTA to restrict the overnight parking of large vehicles in certain zones.

Among the first areas that could be affected by new parking rules:

  • Great Highway between Lincoln and Sloat
  • Lincoln Way between Great Highway and Stanyan
  • Fulton between Great Highway and Stanyan
  • 16th& 17th Streets between Harrison and Potrero
  • John Muir between Skyline and Lake Merced Blvd.
  • Lake Merced Blvd. between Winston and Brotherhood Way
  • 36th& 37th Avenues between Lincoln and Sloat
  • Kirkham, Lawton, Moraga, Noriega, Ortega, Pacheco, Quintara, Rivera, Santiago, Taraval, Ulloa, Vicente, and Wawona between 36th & 37thAvenues
  • Clarendon between Twin Peaks and Laguna Honda
  • Innes Ave. between Arelious Walker and Ingalls
  • Geneva Ave between Moscow St. and Brookdale

“The intention is not to ban it outright,” she said, noting that other spaces for large vehicles wouldn’t be included in the potential new rules.

“I think this is a tradeoff, that’s the reason why we didn’t ban it in the entire city,” she said.

Although some RVs parked on city streets may be simply stored and not lived in, some people who do live in their campers may worry that if they enter City residential homeless programs they may lose their vehicles because they won’t be able to move them to comply with parking rules. Chu said she has been talking with Bevan Dufty, who heads San Francisco’s homeless services, to let these people temporarily store their vehicles on Treasure Island.

Source: Ocean Beach Bulletin []

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