RVs parked overnight in San Francisco have to hit road

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerHome on wheels: Advocates for the homeless say legislation on RV parking approved by the Board of Supervisors will hurt homeless people who have nowhere else to go. The City is developing a plan to get people living in their vehicles into temporary housing.

Despite concerns from advocates for the homeless, San Francisco officials on Tuesday enacted a ban on overnight parking of recreational vehicles in certain parts of The City.

Starting March 1, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will begin installing signs prohibiting the parking of vehicles more than 22 feet in length or 7 feet in height between midnight and 6 a.m in some areas. A complete list of locations will be determined later by the SFMTA, but chronic problem areas such as parts of both the Sunset and Bayview districts are expected to be included.

The prolonged parking of oversized vehicles has angered residents for attracting graffiti or for being eyesores.

Others have complained about the behavior of those who use vehicles as their homes.

“I’m tired of my neighborhood being the dump,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen, whose district includes the Bayview. “What you find are people who are wealthy enough and own these vehicles actually don’t park them in their own neighborhood, they actually park them on the southeastern part of The City.”

Cohen added that those living in vehicles are creating a health concern.

“I’m talking about human excrement lying on the streets and the sidewalks. No one needs to live like this,” she said.

The legislation, authored by Supervisor Carmen Chu, was approved by the Board of Supervisors in a 7-4 vote Tuesday. Chu said current laws, such as a ban on parking for more than 72 hours, are not working. Supervisors Jane Kim, Christina Olague, John Avalos and David Campos opposed the legislation, siding with homeless advocates who blasted the proposal as a mean-spirited attack.

“We’re really disappointed that during the economic crisis that the city of San Francisco is further criminalizing people who have no choice but to live in RVs,” said Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness.

City officials said they plan to offer free vehicle storage to those who agree to enter temporary housing and receive city services. A 2011 estimate found at least 165 people were homeless and living in vehicles.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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