If you're someone who's gotten used to parking an oversized vehicle on San Diego's streets for days on end, those days may soon be numbered.
On Monday, the City Council takes up proposed measures to ban a practice that community activists say is a public safety issue, as well as visual blight.
This overview, from Scott Chipman, a Pacific Beach resident whose activist group -- San Diegans United for Safe Neighborhoods -- has been on-mission for eight years: "We've got commercial vehicles stored on the streets. We've got boats on trailers, just trailers, we've got jet skis on trailers, and the parking enforcement is just not doing the job.
“If they could actually enforce the 72-hour limit, it wouldn't be a problem. But they can't."
So the owners of big rigs all too often get a ticket-free license to leave their machinery parked endlessly in non-metered spaces -- annoying the neighbors and posing safety hazards to drivers.
"When you've got streets lined with vehicles and RV's, you can't see to pull out of your driveway,” Chipman said in an interview Friday. “You can't see if there's somebody who's coming out from the sidewalk. You can't see at the corners when you’re trying to negotiate through an intersection."
With this in mind, city officials have come up with plans that would ban street-side parking for oversized vehicles from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. daily, effectively discouraging ‘all-nighters’.
There's also concern about people who live in their vehicles -- in violation of state law, and maybe even parole conditions.
But Ron Bernstein, one motorhome owner who’s received tickets for 72-hour limit violations in the beach areas, says free overnight parking is a matter of survival for many who can't afford rent: "The whole city is not going to benefit by people becoming homeless -- and I believe they will become homeless, because the neighborhood bullies are forcing them out of their vehicles and onto the street."
If a citywide ban doesn't fly with the Council, another proposal would apply only to the beach areas, under a 2-year pilot program.
"It's critical for us to get something now, and get it started,” Chipman says. “Find out if the problem moves, and if it does move into other communities, then implement as necessary."
There'd be certain vehicle exemptions and special permits for houseguests with RV's, and travel preparations.
According to a city staff report, fines and permit fees would cover the pilot program costs -- roughly $800,000 for the beach areas alone and nearly $2 million for a citywide ban.