The city of Long Beach, California, is moving forward with plans to ban long-term parking of oversized vehicles in residential neighborhoods.
The Press-Telegram newspaper reports local Councilwoman Suzie Price saying the new law, if passed, would create consistency on the issue across the city. She noted that previous complaints and issues were handled individually.
According to news reports, complaints raised about large vehicles parked in place for weeks or longer, include monopolizing parking, blocking views, causing congestion and creating a dangerous visibility issue for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.
Large trucks parking on city streets can prove problematic. The new law would allow parking for 72 hours, with a permit and a maximum of 20 permits per year. It does not apply as long as the vehicle is parked on private property such as in a driveway. Since the play is still in discussion, there calls for exceptions for people who need longer or more permits.
Combined with the fact that enforcement will be handled based on complaints, rather than specific patrols, the city seems willing to look at things on a case by case basis.
The city is also saying homeless people sleeping in those vehicles isn’t the issue. Long Beach has a banning people from sleeping in vehicles. But the Long Beach Press-Telegram wrote is not often enforced because it could prompt a lawsuit, as has been the case in other cities.
In 2014, a federal appeals court determined the city of Los Angeles’ ban on living in cars was “unconstitutionally vague” and discriminated against the poor.
In 2013, the Press-Telegram quoted statistics from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that pointed to Long Beach as having the “fourth highest rate of unsheltered homeless for major cities in the nation.”
It makes one wonder whether most of the complaints about these larger vehicles are about neighbors complaining about neighbors’ vehicles. Or, is it residents complaining about homeless people camped out in their neighborhoods?
And with the city’s exceptions and complaint-based enforcement plan, it suggests the brunt of this enforcement will fall on these most vulnerable.
The councilwoman claimed this wasn’t an attack on homeless “campers.” But the comment about the ‘blight’ oversized vehicles created, combined with a resident’s complaints suggests this is the heart of the issue.
If we presume these neighbors are concerned more about safety and less about their front window views or new on the street neighbors, then what are we talking about?
When a large vehicle is parked along a residential street, it may require cars to pull in behind to allow traffic to flow through from the other way first. But the same occurs whether that vehicle is a car or an oversized vehicle.
Unless we’re talking about banning all parking on these streets — which I’m guessing these same complaining neighbors may object to — then moving the RVs isn’t going to change things.
Monopolizing parking is another complaint. When you have too many vehicles to park everything in your driveway and you rely on the spot in front of your home to be able to park and extra vehicle, someone else in your ‘spot’ can be a nuisance.
The biggest issue is visibility. It can be tricky with larger vehicles to see pedestrians who may be walking in between to cross the street. There’s potential for accidents when people are less-than-cautious navigating narrower spaces.
I spoke with one towing service provider at Five Star Towing. He said he’d been called out more than once to untangle a street blockage because someone couldn’t squeeze through on a congested street and hooked onto on another car or wedged into a space. That’s more an issue of an impatient or less-than-skilled driver, or someone parking adjacent to a parked vehicle and making the street more congested. It’s not that one vehicle was parked on the street.
Will Long Beach pass the law? It appears on course. Who will bear the brunt of the complaint-based-need-a-permit-but-exceptions-permitted law? I know my guess.
Text: Daniel Fialko/Green Towing