MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) — Despite a passionate plea from residents, Mountain View city council members passed a ban Tuesday night on oversized vehicles on most “narrow” streets as well as streets with designated bike lanes.
“People can’t comprehend this, there’s nowhere to go,” said Janet Stevens.
Stevens is among the hundreds who live in the nearly 300 vehicles that are inhabited and parked in Mountain View.
“It’s devastating,” Stevens said. “It’s a lot of life changing things, you realize what’s important, what you keep, what you need, what you don’t need.”
The ban comes years after its proposal and months of discussions. The ban on narrow streets, which are defined as 40 feet wide or less, will take effect July 1, 2020. The ban on streets with bike lanes will take effect after a second reading later this year.
Before Tuesday’s vote, dozens of protesters took to the steps of city hall, armed with signs and a clear message that they believed a ban would only force those living in vehicles out onto the streets and make them truly homeless.
Janet Werkman attended the protest on spoke behalf of her friend, who lives in an RV.
“It would make it impossible for them to continue to live in Mountain View,” Werkman said. “She works here, she has a job, I don’t know where she would go.”
Dozens also lined up to speak during the public comment portion of the city council meeting before the vote, including former mayor and Mountain View resident Lenny Siegel.
“So when you’re saying you don’t want motor homes near parks, you’re saying only certain kinds of people are allowed to use our parks,” he said.
In the end, city council members passed the ban after much discussion. But they also agreed to map out which streets would fall under the ban and create an exemption list if necessary.
The concerns, they said, were that RVs, campers and trailers encroach on bicycle lanes and create poor visibility for drivers. They also said that the streets lack the infrastructure for public health concerns, like toilets, showers or dumpsters.
The city council also discussed expanding its safe parking program, which currently only allows a few dozen RVs to park in certain lots overnight.
But many said city council members needed to discuss solutions to helping those in need before telling them they weren’t allowed to park their vehicles on certain streets in Mountain View.
“Unless you’ve been homeless, you’ll never understand what the fear of facing it is really like,” one woman told council members.