Arvada, Colo., is the latest municipality to offer safe, overnight parking for people living in their vehicles as homelessness grows. Colorado Safe Parking Initiative runs several lots in the state, mostly around Denver, to provide sheltered places for overnight parking and sleeping.
It’s a growing trend throughout the U.S., with calls to increase the number of available lots in cities across the country at the same time some cities are forced to crack down on on-street overnight parking of campers and RVs.
Are you considering save overnight parking arrangements where you are or is on-street becoming a challenge? Please let us know–we’d like to hear about it.
Caught between advocates for people living in recreational vehicles, vans, and other cars, and businesses who say such vehicles using on-street parking long-term keep customers away, the City of Seattle is revisiting its rule that says vehicles can’t stay in the same on-street space for more than 72 hours in the city.
The rule was suspended in April 2020,when COVID-19 kept many people home from work and regular shopping and outings, which meant they weren’t using their cars as much. It was reinstated this past April, and that set off controversy: Homeless people live in vehicles and, advocates say, asking them to move every three days is unfair; businesses, on the other hand, say vehicles that don’t move regularly clog streets and create garbage and crime that keep customers away.
It’s a conundrum being seen by an increasing number of municipalities. For its part, Seattle says it will revisit the rule to balance all needs as COVID-19 continues to affect travel patterns and lifestyles.
In parking news this past weekend is the world record for most expensive parking space being shattered in Hong Kong. An unidentified buyer paid $1.3 million for a parking space in an ultra-luxury development. The previous record for a parking space was $980,000, also in Hong Kong.
Elsewhere, Trenton, Mich., officials are on a goodwill mission to get people to stop parking recreational vehicles (RVs) in neighborhoods longer than the allowed 72 hours. They’re spreading the word, asking people to move their vehicles before being stickered or towed, in an effort to avoid what can be costly measures to drivers. Trenton is one of many cities dealing with RV parking, both because people are living in the vehicles and because RV travel has exploded in popularity.
Finally, Indiana University is trying something different to encourage students, staff, and faculty to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The university is entering vaccinated university community members into raffles to win bookstore gift cards, electronic gadgets, and the big prize–a year-long campus parking permit.
By Christina Jones, CAPP
#VanLife hit peak viral status in 2017, with influencers providing MTV Cribs-style walk-throughs on their YouTube channels of their custom-built rigs, and Instagramming updates of the challenges and adventures of the lifestyle. Inhabited vehicles, though, have been a way of life for years for many, and the experience is not always that of the romanticized dream of life on the road. Whether related to economic circumstance, a nomadic lifestyle, visitors passing through, or long-term storage, inhabited vehicles can have serious effects on the public rights-of-way beyond parking including reduced line of sight and impeding accessibility. Now, with the pandemic’s effects, we have seen essential workers and residents under physician recommendation utilizing recreational vehicles and campers to isolate and self-quarantine from their families. As the CARES Act and state protections expire, some are forecasting a housing crisis with record numbers of foreclosures and evictions, which has the potential to exponentially increase the number of vehicles inhabited within public rights-of-way.
Spending the past year researching what communities throughout the Mountain and West Coast regions are doing to address the issues related to inhabited vehicles, I authored a whitepaper exploring several approaches in use. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to addressing inhabited vehicles in the public rights-of-way. Often, good intentions simply push the issues related to these vehicles down the road, can inadvertently punish those who have already fallen on hard times, or chase visitors to communities perceived to be more welcoming to their mode of travel. To learn more about how to avoid these pitfalls and how some communities are addressing inhabited vehicles, please be sure to check out “Where Should the RVs Go?” in the November issue of Parking & Mobility.
Christina Jones, CAPP, is a parking analyst with Walker Consultants.
It was a not-very-well kept secret among RV owners for a very long time: If they couldn’t find or couldn’t afford a campground while visiting a city, they could almost always camp in a Walmart parking lot overnight. But a lot of Walmarts are banning overnight RV parking–sometimes because of city ordinances–even as RVs skyrocket in popularity.
CNN Business reports that only 58 percent of Walmarts allow overnight RV parking now, down from 78 percent 10 years ago. That’s for a number of reasons, including municipal ordinances that ban camping in commercial parking lots, campers abusing Walmart’s traditional 24-hour rule and staying for long periods of time, an uptick in homeless people living in campers, and campers who don’t dispose of trash or grey water properly.
Users say parking at a Walmart overnight used to be a treat, both because they could easily stock up on necessities and because the experience was quieter than a lot of campgrounds. They expect an uptick in campers using casino lots, which are increasingly opening up to overnight RV stays, and private driveways, which are being rented out to RVers online.
Read the whole story here.