First Parking Site for People Living in RVs Opens in Oakland in Bid to Ease Housing Crisis

Jade Koga was among the first residents asked to join the city-owned site near the Oakland Coliseum. She moved her RV from Edes Avenue, where she said she often feared for her life and property. (Sara Hossaini/KQED)

Oakland officials opened the first parking site Friday for people living in their RVs, as part of their bid to ease the housing crisis impacting communities throughout the Bay Area.

City officials say the RV parking program, a six-month pilot, will support between 30 and 50 vehicles. The site, a city-owned lot located next to the Oakland Coliseum, features wash stations, garbage service and a weekly shower van, plus 24-hour security. Residents must be over 18 years old with RVs in driving condition.

"We don't want to wait until we have all the answers to start taking action," said Mayor Libby Schaaf. "Every day, we must do something to address the absolute frustration and absolute humanitarian need on these streets."

Officials are inviting people with RVs living in an area (Edes and 85th avenues) that has been deeply impacted by the vehicles.

"It's been really a challenge for that Brookfield community," said Joe DeVries, assistant to the city administrator, who is managing the project. "And so that's the community that we're hoping to serve and alleviate first."

Jade Koga was among the first residents asked to join. She moved her RV from Edes Avenue, where she said she often feared for her life and property.

"Yeah, they knocked on my door and I was the second person here. God, I couldn't wait," she said. "I think it's great because it gives us somewhere safe to park. From here, I hope to get a job and get back on my feet."

Schaaf said one more RV parking site was under development and another was being considered pending funding.

The number of homeless people in Alameda County grew 43% over two years, from 2017 to 2019.

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RVs line the streets of other cities, especially in Silicon Valley, but communities have taken different approaches to handling them. Mountain View's City Council last week backed off a proposed ban, opting to enact several restrictions, including a ban on large motor homes and trailers throughout the city from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The city of Berkeley has banned overnight parking for RVs.

In Palo Alto, where campervans and RVs are parked on El Camino Real next to Stanford University, a city rule mandates that people move vehicles on public roads every three days — and at least a half-mile away.

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