Victor Morales has seen plenty of interesting things outside of his art studio at 17th and Florida streets, but nothing ever quite like the sight he witnessed recently.
“A woman came out of her camper in the morning, pulled her pants down, and went to the bathroom on the street,” Morales said. “It was pretty disgusting.”
But such unseemly views could be coming to an end. Under a new proposal, RVs, trailers and other large vehicles would be banned from parking overnight on certain streets.
The proposal would prevent vehicles longer than 22 feet and taller than 7 feet from parking on select streets between midnight and 6 a.m. It would target streets under highways, along industrial lots and next to unoccupied areas like parks. Vehicles that violate this ban would be fined $65. The ban would not affect residents with valid parking permits.
John Zwolinski of La Playa/Great Highway Neighborhood Watch said trailer encampments periodically create problems, especially on La Playa between Lincoln Way and Lawton Street. Campers discard needles and garbage, dump dirty water into storm drains and traffic drugs, he said.
People are prohibited from sleeping in cars overnight on city streets, but the law is hard to enforce, police spokesman Albie Esparza said. The ordinance would give officers a new tool, he said.
However, Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, said it would unfairly target poor and disadvantaged residents, many of whom are newly homeless due to the economy.
“Making overnight parking illegal isn’t going to make them disappear,” she said. “It just punishes people who are too poor to buy a place to live, and that’s not a humane response.”
The proposal, discussed at a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency committee meeting Friday, will be submitted to the agency’s board and the Board of Supervisors next month.
Vehicle restrictions would only go into place after a hearing.
SF may restrict large vehicles from parking on certain streets.
More than 22 feet Length of vehicles subject to new restrictions
More than 7 feet Height of vehicles subject to new restrictions
$65 Fine for violating ordinance
6,455 Homeless residents in San Francisco
Source: SFMTA, SF 2011 Homeless Count