City of Berkeley in process of opening safe overnight RV parking

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The city of Berkeley is currently in the process of negotiating terms on a plan to provide safe overnight parking for recreational vehicle owners.

Talk of these parking locations has been a point of contention within Berkeley City Council since March 2018, when City Council passed an ordinance disallowing RVs from parking overnight on city streets. City Council members discussed finalizing a plan for these parking spots by Nov. 1, according to a Berkeleyside article, although this date was not able to be confirmed.

Lack of housing within the city has been a major concern for those who are struggling to find a safe space to live on the streets of Berkeley. In an effort to alleviate rising tension, the city proposed a three-month priority permit that would allow RV owners to live in their vehicles until they can find a permanent housing opportunity, according to Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín in an email.

“The plan is to open a site to provide 24/7 parking for roughly 20 vehicles, with portable restrooms and hand washing stations and security,” Arreguín said in the email. “While people can stay for up to three months, the city will grant additional time if needed. It is expected this safe parking location will be in operation for 1 year.”

The plan outlines the possibility of a “lottery or standardized system” in order to “allocate limited spaces in an equitable manner,” according to Arreguín in the email.

Those who could be considered “priority populations” may include families with children, those who work in Berkeley, students in Berkeley and residents that have had a Berkeley address within the past 10 years.

While the actual location cannot be disclosed at the time, the city is actively working on looking for “safe parking spot(s) with garbage pickup and various services,” according to Berkeley City Councilmember Cheryl Davila. While a few locations have been considered, a decision on which of these locations will be the designated parking spot, however, has yet to be decided, Davila said in an email.

“Bureaucracy and limited property as options, are delays. As well as, lack of compassion, lack of empathy, lack of caring from many,” Davila said in the email. “Eliminate the bureaucracy which holds back timely progress. Eliminate the ‘isms’ that keep us apart, cause harm and create disparities. We must unite to find solutions with all the stakeholders at the table.”

With the increase in the homeless population on the streets of Berkeley and the subsequent implementation of this plan, the city hopes to not only help increase safety measures but also lift pressure, according to Davila in the email.

While there may not be a solidified plan as of now, Davila said in the email that the community must come together to find solutions and create a welcoming community.

“Reach out and help someone, say hello, acknowledge their existence, those who are able to lend a helping hand, step up, it takes a village,” Davila said in the email. “We must welcome, love and care for all, not dismiss, ignore, criminalize or remove, to satisfy self preservation. Lets … think out of the box for solutions that will benefit everyone.”

Contact Audry Jeong at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @audryjng_dc.