Thank you to the Mountain View community for passing Measure C, and to the Town Crier for more balanced reporting than that of our own city’s newspaper. Mountain View has been extraordinarily generous with a growing situation, but there are limits.
Without consistent enforcement of the 72-hour parking rules, there were soon so many residents in parked vehicles – 276 in 2015 grew to 606 by 2019 – that it affected visibility and safety as well as quality of life for others. Most importantly, these were clearly not humane living conditions, and something needed to be done.
Mountain View is extremely compassionate and stepped up with services such as water/showers, biohazard cleanup and community agency connections.
Concurrently, we were working toward more long-term goals by creating “Safe Parking” lots, increasing agency partnerships and exploring additional housing opportunities.
Meanwhile, thoughtful proposals were put to the council to alleviate residents’ concerns about bike-lane visibility, safety and the dangerous conditions created by having oversized vehicles parked on narrow streets. The first priority to make bike lanes safe again was accomplished expediently. The second objective was to protect the safety of our narrow streets.
Unfortunately, a lot of time, energy and money was diverted when a discordant group delayed that process by fighting solutions every step of the way. Instead of working together by encouraging folks to use the community services and the “Safe Parking” lots provided, they did a great disservice.
I think residents recognized that they could best help people in desperate situations by establishing some parameters that would work to make everyone in Mountain View feel safer. They recognized that we could expand programs for those living in vehicles while still ensuring that our residents could ride in our bike lanes, traverse our streets with lessened concerns about collisions due to lack of visibility and enjoy our parks without health and safety concerns.
Their narrative never included the facts about what Mountain View did:
• Provided humane services and assistance ($5.7 million).
• Secured five “Safe Parking” lots and streamlined the process for their opening.
• Worked in partnership and supported agencies such as Health Trust Meals on Wheels, MayView Community Health Center, Hope’s Corner, LifeMoves, Rapid Rehousing Services (assisted 132 Mountain View-affiliated residents), Permanent Supportive Housing (assisted 346 Mountain View-affiliated residents) and Community Services Agency (offered services to thousands and enrolled 180 in its Vehicle Outreach Services program).
Most exciting is the partnership of the city of Mountain View and LifeMoves with Project Homekey to provide modular living for 144 within a few months. The passage of Measure C ensures that we now can continue this important work. We are looking for people interested in helping with the project.
Kudos to Mountain View for its groundbreaking work. Hopefully other cities will be inspired to step up and help their residents as we are helping ours.
Pam Lehner is a Mountain View resident and Measure C advocate.