Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - August 6, 2010

Editorial: It's long past time to ban 'vehicle dwelling'

Palo Alto needs to separate, prioritize issues to protect neighborhoods from intrusions, old vans and clutter, or worse

"It ain't home till it's up on blocks" is a refrain from a contemporary Trailer Park Troubadours song.

That's raised on blocks, not parked on blocks of neighborhood streets — and it's a theme that needs to be played by the City of Palo Alto. Of course, no one wants a community with cars and vans sitting around up on blocks.

But the issue of people sleeping in — actually living in — vehicles parked on Palo Alto streets has again surfaced as a community concern, this time raised initially by residents and businesses in the College Terrace area.

Yet it is a problem that extends to other areas of town as well, as has been well pointed out in the Town Square forum of www.PaloAltoOnline.com.

It is not a new issue, but it is entirely distinct from two related issues: (1) overnight parking on streets generally by residents' vehicles, and (2) storing of vehicles on streets by moving them just ahead of the 72-hour limit.

There's also a question of city credibility. In late 2008 city officials said some kind of action was going to be proposed by the end of that year to address sleeping/living in vehicles. It's fair today to ask what crack that slipped into, and what it will take to pry it out for priority action.

There's a context behind the slippage. That matter was allowed to slip in the face of community outrage over perceived "racial profiling" by police, which forced former Police Chief Lynne Johnson into retirement and led to the appointment of Dennis Burns as interim chief and later chief.

There was a staff feeling that there needed to be cooling off time before tackling another hot topic. There also was an emerging sense that vehicle dwelling should not be a Police Department initiative but addressed as a "health and safety" matter rather than parking-enforcement.

And there was a feeling the push should come primarily from residents and neighborhood leaders. Sadly this was not communicated back to residents, who awaited some kind of action as promised from city leaders.

The wait is now over, and residents are roused, and impatient. They want to know why Palo Alto is the only city in the area that allows overnight sleeping, camping or living on city streets while other cities don't.

As outlined in a Nov. 14, 2008, story in the Weekly, other cities handle the matter in different ways, with some exceptions for guests parked in driveways of residents they are visiting.

Menlo Park bans vehicle dwelling under its nuisance law and health-and-safety provisions.

We think health-and-safety is the correct avenue for Palo Alto.

Addressing the vehicle-dwelling matter should NOT be confused with overnight parking on city streets. That issue has a long, complicated history, and prior to 1982 Palo Alto had such a ban but it was repealed for what were felt to be good reasons.

And vehicle-dwelling by itself is complex enough. There is the issue of "the homeless," a broad catch-all term that encompasses both those who find themselves in temporary hardship and unable to afford Palo Alto's housing at one extreme and those who choose a no-home lifestyle.

We are not advocating a policy of driving out homeless persons. Palo Alto as a city and community has spent millions on programs and services to assist homeless persons — through the Opportunity Center and nonprofit, often church-based meals, services and counseling programs.

Yet as a community Palo Alto has a right, and responsibility, to protect the quality of life in its neighborhoods. That responsibility ultimately falls on the City Council and city administration, and it is long past time for our city officials to shoulder that duty and devise effective responses to an identified problem.

There was a significant push made to address the issue of sleeping/living in vehicles as far back as 1999 when then-Mayor Gary Fazzino raised the issue: "Streets are to be used for transportation. I don't think people should be housed in the streets," he said at a council committee meeting.

Now, more than a decade later — and two years after it was explicitly promised — it is time to bring the subject back to the fore and deal with it.

Comments

Posted by Ruth, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 7, 2010 at 9:09 am

A very well written editorial that helps the local dialogue by providing some clarity. I think it made 4 key points really well.

1. Sleeping / living in cars is simply not right, primarily from a health and safety perspective, as opposed to a police issue.

2. The Palo Alto City Council needs to follow-through on numerous promises made previously to the people in Palo Alto.

3. The City Council (apparently) had been waiting for "the community" to speak up. Thank goodness for leadership: the good folks of College Terrace have done exactly that, being the sometimes-annoying "squeaky wheel". At least I give them full credit for identifying an issue that goes far beyond just College Terrace.

4. It is muddy-headed to conflate the issue of overnight sleeping with 2 other issues that are related but separate: namely the notion of resident street parking and moving vehicles around to avoid the 72 hour limit.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2010 at 9:51 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The problem is overly well defined. The solutions up to now have not worked. The shelters and half way houses don't work for the majority primarily because most of the street people are not willing to accept discipline or structure, If they did, they likely would not be homeless.
I haven't sold caravansaries, so let's try Urban Campgrounds. Unless we want to emulate Roseville in the 30's, where emigrants [Okies] were met at the North border and given police escort to the South end pointed to Sacramento. Give them an acceptable place to go, with sanitary facilities and a modicum of safety. Perhaps get the state [HA!] to expand the roadside rest program, or just reinstate vagrancy laws and the poor farm or the floater. Everybody has to be somewhere.


Posted by danny, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Sounds like the Palo Alto Weekly should experience a Homeless tax on Palo Alto residential real estate newspaper ads.


Posted by Move your camper, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 8, 2010 at 10:11 am

The problem with the regulation that you must move your car five tenths of a mile every 72 hours is, it doesn't work.

You can just drive your car round the block and park it back where it was before because that was probably five tenths of a mile. We need to have a new code enforced regulation which requires a car be re-parked two miles away from the previous location.

Of course this may well hurt residents' vehicles too as well as vehicle used for sleeping; in which case it may not work - just another idea!!


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm


Obviously, as stated no one wants people living in their cars on the streets of Palo Alto. And obviously there is not a good solution in terms of existing law, and not a really good proposal that I have ever heard for how to write a law to handle this that does not have major flaws of one sort or another.

My question is ... for who is this such a problem ... specifically ... and what kind of a problem is it? Is it the practice or the people who do it that are the problem? I can think of people who could live in their cars and stay out of sight and not become a problem for anyone, then there are people who try to be a problem for everyone.

I think a good thing would be for the state to build some kind of institution to house people, like the "campgrounds" suggested, but then the state would be responsible for policing it in terms of behavior and disease.

Would this be possible? What would be the cost of doing it? Would it work, or would it create slums like in the 3rd world. India is quite content to have poverty stricken people living in ??? I don't even know what to call them, but they fish for labor in these places that of course tends to drop everyone else's wages down lower.

Is that better than paying taxes to support them, and if so what class does the cheap labor help the most?

Are these people that are going to have children?

So, why is it that we continue to have the same old problems, and never enough time or money to solve any of them, or even discuss them or attempt solutions and the number of problems just seem to grow? To me it points out yet again the absolute total failure of the leadership class of the United States and the world to merit their positions, from the Presidents right down to Mayors and City Councils. As long as life is pleasant for the leadership class this is all that counts ... and if it is not, then the leadership class just jettisons the malcontents. According to Jared Diamond in his book "Collapse" and talk on the collapse of extinct civilizations, this insulation and self-centeredness of leadership classes in probably the main cause that civilizations cannot stop their inevitable collapse.

This is not a rant about the imagined or real collapse of civilization, but a poke for people to think about how badly we need brilliant thinkers and leaders to solve problems, and what are the impediments and barriers to this happening. I don't see the City Government as doing much of anything to solve any of Palo Altos problems, and the costs of that constantly go up.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 8, 2010 at 2:27 pm

By the way ... is you park and sit in your car on Terminal Ave. in Palo Alto, bordering Shoreline and the baylands, at the end of San Antonio Ave. after dark, ... like say you just went for a hike at the baylands, and you are sitting and talking in your car, the Police will drive by and tell you it is illegal to park there and be there .... and make you move on.

So ... then, why is there this problem? There is such arbitrary and non-uniform behavior on the part of the Police Department I don't wonder that there is a problem with this, or anything else.


Posted by Move your camper, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Anon says: "I think a good thing would be for the state to build some kind of institution to house people,"

While Reagan was Governor of California he closed both Napa and Agnue State Hospitals for the mentally ill because the State could not afford them. He effectively put the mentally ill back out on the street and told them to take their medication.

I don't think the State is about to build an institution for those presently living in their autos while we have a serious street problem with those who were released from Napa and Agnue.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

That old "Reagan closed the institutions" is still floating around.


Posted by Annoyed, a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2010 at 7:43 am

What makes the citizens of Palo Alto think that the state should come in and fix their problem? Have you seen the homeless problem in nearby San Jose, San Francisco and E. Palo Alto? You folks think that because you have a few people living in their cars you have a "major" problem. Wake up and realize that everything does not revolve around the "Nation of Palo Alto". You have the tools necessary already in place to combat the problem but the City Council won't act on them, and enact municipal codes, because they have eliminated positions needed to enforce them.


Posted by Council has bigger fish to fry, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 9, 2010 at 10:52 am

"The wait is now over, and residents are roused, and impatient."

Are you serious? Look at the group's that complaining!
Can't believe that PA Weekly editors have such a knee jerk reaction to a College Terrace circular.


Posted by JT, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm

College Terrace is seemingly taking over this City. They asked for and got the City to agree to permit parking which is being financed by our tax dollars to the tune of $49,000. Why can't the rest of the City have permit parking?

Then they complain about all the cars going in and out of Facebook and using their precious streets to park on. Facebook responded by providing buses to cutback on the parking problems with cars. Then California Avenue residents complained about too many buses making too much noise.

Now, it's homeless sleeping in their cars. My suggestion to CT residents - Move!!


Posted by Steve C, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm

The state already has mental institutions, they're called jails and prisons. Doesn't surprise me that good old Ronald Reagan had a hand in this debacle as well. The man was just full of good ideas.


Posted by Hmmm - to Anon, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:17 pm

So the PA Cops says it's illegal to park on Terminal Ave., a public street? I know the baylands areas close at sunset & cops will drive into the park at the end of Embarcadero, but I never heard about them bugging people parked on a public street! I ask because we walk our dogs all over the place, especially on various baylands trails. How weird that they want to roust people there but not the camper folks.

Of course, I see them on W. Bayshore in the parking lot, looking for EPA folks they can stop, but let the speeders on Embarcadero whizz by going 45...


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 6:02 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

A democrat legislature mandated the closing of institutions as a civil rights action. To blame the consequences of that well meaning action on the Governor tasked with implementing the law is slimy misdirection at its worst.


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

This is a comment and response to a parallel discussion of homeless shelter and urban campers. This is what I meant about looking for solutions rather than pushing problems into the corner.

Walter E. Wallis



Joined: 12 Jun 2005
Posts: 46
Location: Palo Alto, CA

PostPosted: 10 Aug 2010 12:21 Post subject: Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post
As we engineers say, perfection is the enemy of good enough. In an ideal world everyone would have a good job, a rose covered cottage and a white picket fence. Lacking that, ow about a sexual outlet, a dry bed and a warm place to attend to bodily functions.
I read of one community where the homeless were given 95 gallon trash bins to give them a waterproof container for their property that would also give a place to curl up and sleep dry.
Perhaps we could steal a march from the idiots who gave us diamond lanes and require anyone with extra bedrooms to either share them with the homeless or pay a homeless tax to provide hotel rooms for the homeless.
A more rational idea would be the expansion of the roadside rest program to provide camping space with parking and toilets at major entrances to cities.
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Location: Midtown

PostPosted: 10 Aug 2010 19:04 Post subject: Reply with quote
OK. I lied. I do have more.

Great posts.

Walter, as an engineer, what do you think of this and how it was developed?

Web Link

Or this.

Web Link

I posted this here years ago, and thought a situation you describe that is controllable and clean is possible and a good temporary solution to the problem that affects us all in one way or another.

Or this:

Web Link

I'm not sure if the clip is in this link or not, but there is a longtime street person very pleased with it, calling it his "Hobo Condo"......... Couldn't find it but here's a different one.

Web Link

I can't see these being deployed downtown or anything, but, a campground with facilties would get folks off the street, and they'd have a place to sleep that is safe with proper hygiene and minimal services.

It's like mobile camping or something. I like it.

I would like to interject this as an aside. Many are unaware of the level of violence and criminality that goes unreported in the homeless community on a regular basis.

Especially crimes against women who are very vulnerable living outdoors.

Anything that provides a secure environment for something as necessary as a good night's sleep is a good thing, and in a secure environment these EDARs provide that.

To those who have no love lost on the homeless I honestly understand your position. I deal with some very annoying, aggressive, irresponsible, criminal, homeless A-Holes on a recurring basis and you are not wrong that they exist. I do not see them as the norm.

How I get through this unpleasantness, though, is to not judge how anyone came to be in their situation, but, that they are in need of assistance, and may improve their situation with a stable situation, no matter how short or confused their situation.

And, these anti-social folks are not in the majority from my view.

Yeah, it's difficult at times.

So, anybody want to start a project? Maybe buy about 50 of these and find some Gummint land to put 'em on?

Walter....you're from Palo Alto where men light their expensive Cuban Cigars with $100 bills and their hot ladies drink Champagne from a glass slipper. You could probably get the City to finance these in a pilot program?

Web Link

You're a prominent local figure and outspoken social and political awareness guy. Why not start a project? I've got more info for you or anyone else interested in trying something different.

Whattya' think?

With a few donations a few of these could be had. I realize this idea may seem wacky to some, but, the current level of shelter is inadequate.


Posted by this is news?, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 10, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Slow summer news month.


Posted by JT, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 11, 2010 at 6:50 am

Now that the trailer for Friends of the Library burned two nights ago. How are we going to stop the homeless from sleeping at the Cubberley Community Center and Mitchell Park for that matter?!! Also, they park on neighboring streets to sleep; so CT is not the only PA neighborhood with a vehicle sleeping problem.


Posted by A Palo Alto parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 11, 2010 at 6:59 am

The point is that there are regulations about property lines and privacy, and if someone can just come along and park their camper on the street outside my house, a few yards from my bedroom window, I have no privacy and no ability to enjoy my property without closing my curtains. I can't see in this camper (darkened windows), but they can see right into my bedroom? I don't think so...


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2010 at 8:06 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Find them a better place to camp. If you build it they will come.


Posted by robit noops, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 11, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I have had someone living in a camper down the street for years, fine. I have also had friends who have had to live in vehicles for periods of time. Sometimes you need to keep the ugly in life as a reminder.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Palo Alto parent says:
"The point is that there are regulations about property lines and privacy, and if someone can just come along and park their camper on the street outside my house, a few yards from my bedroom window, I have no privacy and no ability to enjoy my property without closing my curtains. I can't see in this camper (darkened windows), but they can see right into my bedroom? I don't think so..."

You know, you live in a city, albeit small. If you want guaranteed right to privacy buy an estate. Obviously, anytime anyone parks across from your house (a public street) they are going to be able to look into your property or your house if you don't take precautions to ensure your privacy-blinds, louvre blinds, etc. But that fact exists regardless of who parks in front of your house:
it can be the Governor or a "I live in my car person".

The city would make money by instituting limited parking except for residents, but that's not want CT seems to want. They want private streets for the price of housing on a public one. It's already difficult to navigate CT streets- I have to go around wasting time and gas (because it's confusing and I don't know which streets are blocked) driving around a veritable labyrinth. Whiners CT's are-always complaining as if the rest of Palo Alto doesn't have the same problems. You bought a house in a place that's not prime and not just residential -live with it. First they want Facebook to have buses, now they complain that there are too many. it's a case of " be careful what you asked for, you might get it".


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Palo Alto parent says:
"The point is that there are regulations about property lines and privacy, and if someone can just come along and park their camper on the street outside my house, a few yards from my bedroom window, I have no privacy and no ability to enjoy my property without closing my curtains. I can't see in this camper (darkened windows), but they can see right into my bedroom? I don't think so..."

You know, you live in a city, albeit small. If you want guaranteed right to privacy buy an estate. Obviously, anytime anyone parks across from your house (a public street) they are going to be able to look into your property or your house if you don't take precautions to ensure your privacy-blinds, louvre blinds, etc. But that fact exists regardless of who parks in front of your house:
it can be the Governor or a "I live in my car person".

The city would make money by instituting limited parking except for residents, but that's not want CT seems to want. They want private streets for the price of housing on a public one. It's already difficult to navigate CT streets- I have to go around wasting time and gas (because it's confusing and I don't know which streets are blocked) driving around a veritable labyrinth. Whiners CT's are-always complaining as if the rest of Palo Alto doesn't have the same problems. You bought a house in a place that's not prime and not just residential -live with it. First they want Facebook to have buses, now they complain that there are too many. it's a case of " be careful what you asked for, you might get it".


Posted by CC, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Living in a car can't be fun. Why not ask the author of Harry Potter what it was like for her and what would she do to solve the problem of life on the streets.


Posted by robit noops, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Thats right, the Harry Potter lady had to do it. Life isn't always pretty and Palo Alto isn't an exception. You cant round up undesirables and throw them out of town. Since they keep to themselves, dont make a mess, and dont cause crime, I would leave them be.


Posted by Council has bigger fish to fry, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 11, 2010 at 7:40 pm

"[College Terrace] want private streets for the price of housing on a public one."

You got that right!


Posted by Ruth, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 11, 2010 at 10:54 pm

You College Terrace bashers are just being naive and keep missing the point. This "overnight sleeping in cars" problem concerns all of Palo Alto, not just College Terrace. The folks in CT are simply voicing what many of us in Palo Alto have been thinking all along.

Why should Palo Alto be the only town amongst ALL of its neighbors not to have an ordinance prohibiting long-term sleeping in cars? Why does this make sense to continue? Instead of focusing your energy bashing the forward-thinking people who are making legitimate complaints, why not focus your energy on the problem of people sleeping in their cars, and urinating on your front yards, and putting unmentionables in your trash cans?


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2010 at 1:18 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I would have more sympathy for CT had they not opted to exclude their streets from the general public use.


Posted by Council has bigger fish to fry, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2010 at 9:33 am

Ruth, just think about where in Palo Alto has a homeless problem. Then think about who is complaining here. And, really, College Terrace are "forward-thinking people"? Now who's being naive?


Posted by Ruth, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 12, 2010 at 11:25 am

To "Council has bigger fish to fry"

You need to keep your eyes on the big picture, and stop playing attack politics. The problem of people sleeping in their cars and urinating on residential front yards is CITY-wide problem, not just localized to CT.

Again, why should Palo Alto be the only town amongst all its neighbors to not have an ordinance like this?

The CT folks just happen to be the "squeaky wheels" who care enough about the problem to speak up.

Since you live in Crescent Park, maybe you don't see enough of this to concerned about it. That is fine. But don't bury your head in the sand and deny to the rest of us Palo Alto residents that this problem doesn't exist in our neighborhoods too.

I have no problem with College Terrace speaking up first. Someone has to take leadership, and -- as this thread unfortunately and plainly shows -- someone else will always attack them for taking the lead.... despite it being a city-wide issue.


Posted by Council has bigger fish to fry, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Ruth, you don't even know when you're being played. One of the few neighborhoods in Palo Alto with RPPP is complaining about overnight parking. Need I say more?
Where is Crescent Park right next to? Only Downtown North & Proffessorville would have a better insight.
There is a reason this isn't on the Council's list of priorities. It isn't a "city-wide" issue.
The editor is being lazy in picking up this non-story.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Ruth is confusing two different issues. One is the issue of overnight parking. Another is what you can do when you are inside your car. Sleeping in your parked car, eating in your parked car, reading in your parked car are not forbidden neither should they be. Catching a bit of zzz's in your car is great. What they object to is not overnight parking, but who parks. They have been objecting to "stuff" as if CT is their private domain and maybe that's why I have limitedsympathy for them. If there is a city wide problem, it should be dealt with (there was never in Midtown where I lived), but write an ordinance that so that those folks and only those need not be bothered (by anybody)?. As I said, they bought a house near and in a non-residential area that is not a prime one in Palo Alto and now they want to be thought of as so private (where else in Palo Alto that maze of impenetrable streets?) that they rival a gated development. Have some sense of proportion CT's...


Posted by Karen, a resident of Southgate
on Aug 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

narnia,

Puleeze excuze me while I vomit over your hypocritial rants.

According to you, you live in Menlo Park, right?

Does MP allow homeless to sleep overnight in your city? Or do they push them to Palo Alto?

You have absolutely no right to lecture us!!! Get a life!!!!


Posted by gene, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Menlo Park does not allow anyone to park overnight on their streets


Posted by Ruth, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 13, 2010 at 7:46 am

"narnia" -

Get a clue. You have no idea what you're talking about. The problem clearly laid out in the PA Weekly editorial is a problem in my neighborhood of Community Center too. If you knew Palo Alto at all, it is not a problem only in College Terrace.

No one seems to want to address the basic question, which is "why should Palo Alto be the only town amongst all its neighborhoods not to have an enforceable ordinance banning overnight camping and such in street-parked cars?"

Read the editorial again if you still don't get it.


Posted by Ruth, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 13, 2010 at 7:47 am

"narnia" -

Get a clue. You have no idea what you're talking about. The problem clearly laid out in the PA Weekly editorial is a problem in my neighborhood of Community Center too. If you knew Palo Alto at all, it is not a problem only in College Terrace.

No one seems to want to address the basic question, which is "why should Palo Alto be the only town amongst all its neighboring cities not to have an enforceable ordinance banning overnight camping and such in street-parked cars?"

Read the editorial again if you still don't get it.


Posted by Council has bigger fish to fry!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2010 at 9:13 am

Your whole argument comes down to "everyone else is doing it"?

Pathetic!

Can't wait till school starts.


Posted by Ruth, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 13, 2010 at 10:22 am

No, there are multiple reasons. Read the Palo Alto Weekly's editorial again. I think it is very well written.

1. All the neighboring cities have such an ordinance. Why should Palo Alto be the exception?

2. This is a problem all over Palo Alto, including my neighborhood.

3. People urinating in front yards and putting unmentionables into our trash bins is unacceptable from a quality of life perspective.

4. The city council needs to follow through on promises previously made that they will deal with this problem. What are we waiting for?

Don't allow your personal attack politics on the people of College Terrace stop the City of Palo Alto from doing the right thing.


Posted by Council has bigger fish to fry!, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2010 at 2:22 pm

1. Everyone else has it so we should as well. I had hoped that most people wouldn't have grown out of this argument.
2. No it isn't.
3. There are already laws for this.
4. The promise was to re-visit it. Not to implement it. The council has far more important issues to deal with. One or two vehicles does not a priority make.
5. Grow up.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 13, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Ruth,
i arrived in palo Alto in 1982. Recently, I lived in Midtown (until 2009). I do know Palo Alto very well and the Stanford area too.. I do not think that what you describe is common in Palo Alto, though there have been some isolated incidents specially with kids.How many incidents exactly are we talking about? Because there is an ordinance on littering, so call the cops.

But this is the problem with city council approving ordinances taylor made for one part of the city (small, not all residential)-the other parts are then going to be saddled with
the problem CT had with a vengeance. If you read (did you?) my posts you will see that I advocate a city wide ban on parking during the night ( between 1:00 am and 5:00 am in other towns) except for residents. What qualifies as resident would naturally be subject to a court clarification. Palo Altans shouldn't make proposals that are too radical and too dehumanizing and too much NYMBY because if they do, courts have a way of addressing that. It is enough to look at the Mount Laurel court decision in New Jersey to understand that demonizing people whose only sin seems to not be able to afford Palo Alto seems to me to be counterproductive, least you get what you asked for...
No exceptions for CT I say. Get the council's attention to all Palo Alto not just the squeaky wheel...





Posted by Ruth, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 13, 2010 at 4:48 pm

'Council has bigger fish to fry wrote': "2. No it isn't." (to the comment that "People sleeping in — actually living in — parked vehicles is a problem all over Palo Alto, including my neighborhood."

'Narnia wrote': "I do not think that what you describe is common in Palo Alto."

These 2 quotes are prime examples of folks needing to get a clue. For some reason, you keep thinking this problem is limited only to College Terrace. It's plainly not. You are both welcome to spend some time in my neighborhood and check it out for yourselves.

Read the editorial. It says very clearly: "But the issue of people sleeping in — actually living in — vehicles parked on Palo Alto streets has again surfaced as a community concern, this time raised initially by residents and businesses in the College Terrace area. Yet it is a problem that extends to other areas of town as well."

Just because CT residents care enough or are activist enough to raise the issue doesn't mean that _only_ CT residents care about the issue.


Posted by Council has bigger fish to fry!,, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2010 at 5:23 pm

Quote it in full: "Yet it is a problem that extends to other areas of town as well, as has been well pointed out in the Town Square forum of www.PaloAltoOnline.com."

You're quoting yourself. Well done! I bet you tell yourself ol' saint nic exists as well.


Posted by Anne, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 17, 2010 at 11:38 am

The August 6 editorial arbitrarily dices the street parking problem into three "distinct but related issues": 1) parked vehicles used for living/sleeping, 2) overnight parking on streets, generally by residents, and 3) storing of vehicles on streets by moving them just ahead of the 72-hour limit.

The umbrella issue here is vehicles parked overnight on the street, regardless of which sub-issue applies. ALL vehicles parked on the street trash our neighborhoods. An ordinance is needed, as exits in Menlo Park and as previously existed in Palo Alto, disallowing such parking for any reason, excepting well defined circumstances that cannot be ameliorated in any way other than by the issuance of permits on a one by one basis.

This would be a fair solution, not directed at any sub group of the community, and hence avoiding discrimination against any sub group.

Of course, in our (supposedly) green community there will be those residents who will flail against the return of such an ordinance, finding it difficult to provide appropriate space for their over abundance of vehicles.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 17, 2010 at 11:50 am

Anne - what do people who do not have a garage or driveway do with their cars if they can't park on the street?


Posted by Anne, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 17, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Answer to Palo Alto Mom:

They fall under my suggestion in the comment just before your's above referring to "circumstances that cannot be ameliorated in any way other than by the issuance of permits on a one by one basis". I would suggest that such permits be free, but that the applicants be very carefully screened for need.


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