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Parking changes could evict homeless from 3rd Street



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The city is trying to boot the homeless from a stretch of road under a freeway that has for years served as a refuge for those with nowhere to go.

The area – both sides of 3rd Street, between W and X Streets – currently has no parking restrictions, and vehicles park there for lengthy periods of time, according to the city. There are 59 spaces along the section of 3rd Street – which is covered by freeways – and the police department has received multiple complaints of homeless people living in their cars, "creating an unsafe environment," according to a staff report.

But it’s not so simple, said one homeless man who wished to remain nameless, as he feared harassment from the city. "They’re trying to move homeless people out of the area," said the man, who was fixing a woman’s car on a recent afternoon. "Where are we gonna go?"

On Thursday afternoon, the area hosted a mixed batch of vehicles and their owners, from those who work nearby and park there during the day, to the working poor who can’t afford a downtown rental, and at least two RVs. There was litter strewn on the side of the road, and graffiti spray-painted on the concrete freeway overpass supports. It’s a free place to park – and even to sleep if one can stand the constant rumblings of the traffic above – but not for much longer.

The city is hoping to nip that parking free-for-all in the bud, if you will, and restrict the parking availability to two hours, enforced Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This item is among many other parking-related matters on the city council’s consent calendar for its Jan. 3 meeting. Other parking changes include creating angled spaces along V Street, regulating free parking spaces near the Crocker Art Museum, and extending the parking time limit along a stretch of 4th Street.

These parking requests are pretty routine, said City Spokeswoman Linda Tucker, and are often made at the behest of the public or businesses. “The reason we restrict parking or put in meters is to encourage turnover of parking,” she said.

But restricting parking times will hurt everyone – the homeless, students, those who work nearby – as it will open the area to thieves, the homeless man said. There are nine people who live in their vehicle and park along 3rd Street regularly, the man said, and the city restricting parking is just kicking them while they’re down. "They can barely afford their cars," he said.

Other changes to parking include the following:

• The city wants to change the currently parallel parking spaces along the north side of V Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets, to be angled spaces. This will create three more spaces (there are currently 11) and cost about $8,000. The request for this came from residents, property and business owners in the surrounding neighborhoods, according to the city. 

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  • How does restricting the parking hours open the area up to thieves?

    • If the area is teaming with thieves then it’s safe to say it’s not a place for folks to live. These folks need to be vectored into services so they can start to transition into permanent housing.

    • By forcing out the few that are always present there the thieves in the area will have easy street access to break windows, as it is now when they walk by they have to wonder whos watching.

    • sonny iverson

      Tom- there is a huge lack of services available so how is this possible?

  • Isaac Gonzalez

    I wonder how many of the same cars are there from this piece:

    http://www.sacramentopress.com/headline/52606/Saturday_June_25th_2011

  • Now the homeless will move across Broadway into the residential area and park for unlimited amounts of time there. The city should have just let it be, this problem will now move a few blocks to stir up another group of people.

    • sonny iverson

      you talk about the homeless as if they are an insect threatening to devour your garden. What is wrong with you people?

  • Karen Wilkinson

    Thanks for posting that link, Issac, your photos are a great snapshot of the area and its least privileged. And to answer the first comment, the homeless man I spoke with said that by restricting parking in the area, there will no longer be people there to keep an eye on the it, and potential crime. Right now, he said, there are a few people who try to keep the area free from thieves, but without their presence, it will possibly see more car break-ins.

  • Rhonda Erwin

    I believe we have waited too long” to create a place where homeless people can legally sleep outside with basic services and access to programs that can help them become more stable, he said at his weekly news conference. “We’ve studied this for three years. This is not that complicated.”
    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/14/4121273/sacramento-mayor-kevin-johnson.html#storylink=cpy

    So, before the city moves the folks with nowhere to go can they offer them a place with Safegrounds. You can’t just shift a problem to another area and expect the problem to resolve. What then they will have to evict them from there later for parking space?? How is safe grounds going? After all it was “studied for three years and said to not be that complicated.” Have they received any further donations? Can the city inform us, on January 3rd, what’s going on with project Safeground or any other homeless idea, solution, thought they may have on homelessness. Or was safegound another after- the- money- is- donated and the media writes the story- and officials are given their Kudos- the flicker of hope/ services for those in need flame dies? Heck, I’d like to know they are addressing homelessness on January 3rd eviction matter and not just share any other parking funding generated matters. Heck, can proceeds from parking meters in the city go towards homelessness- Safeground?

    • Rhonda Erwin

      I apologize if i sounded harsh on my previous comment, another youth my sons age was shot and killed last night blocks from my home and i am a little upset….. I should have just asked, Are they going to discuss safe grounds on January 3rd as well? as a place to move those they are evicting? My apologies and thank you,

    • Rhonda the problem with the so called safe ground is well it’s not vary safe. Those that use those places are mental and or on drugs of some type.. and for someone like myself who suffers from sad (social anceity disorder) we can’t stand being around people like that, so we simply stay to ourselves. Try hanging out around loaves and fishes for a day, I left after five minutes.

    • Rhonda Erwin

      bill104 Thank you for sharing the above information. I was unaware of the problems…. existing within safeground. Since I don’t see all homeless people as mental or using drugs I naturally assumed “Safe” ground was a safe haven basically a safe place for the homeless. I can understand for the reasons you listed as well as SAD condition why you’d prefer to be alone and not around it. I’ve spoken with homeless people who didn’t appear mental or on drugs advocate for Safegrounds. I’ve heard some praise the efforts of loaves and fishes and will volunteer for a day/week… Whether or not you stay at Safeground or go to loathes and fishes is your choice. However, I don’t think it’s fair to imply or suggest only mental people or druggies use loathes and fishes or are a part of safegrouds. I’m sure there are good people who are homeless that will help someone… give what little they have… who are at loathes and fishes and safeground. There is always someone less fortunate. I don’t think it’s fair for one who is homeless who has a car to sleep in to generalize all of the homeless population who go to Loathes/ Fishes and Safeground. I learned today there are different class levels within the homeless community. But I never meant to suggest you have to be forced to stay somewhere you’re not comfortable. Everyone in my neighborhood is not of the same class. Some will stay and work to make things better some will move away. It’s a personal choice. I wish you well.

    • Hi again Ronda I guess I should not imply all of the people using l and f as druggies of drunks, but if you do a little research I think you will find many of the homeless that go to freindship park as its calls are users which is why so many of them can’t get into missions or housing, by the way I choose my life style as a way to help not only my daughter and grandkids but it also allows me to help others in need by fixing tires and other small things that goes wrong with their cars, may you and yours have a great holiday.

  • Marc Ronson

    ‘The city is trying to boot the homeless from a stretch of road under a freeway that has for years served as a refuge for those with nowhere to go’. Is this an OP ED?

    • Also the headline implies the homeless have some kind of lease to live in their cars on that street. I’d be surprised if that were the case.

    • Jared Goyette

      This not the A.P or the Sac Bee. I encourage our writers to use their voice and writer with perspective as long as the facts are accurate and the article is fair and includes both sides. I don’t think the headline infers any “right” – it just accurately describes what would happen. If you get evicted from a house, that does not mean you have the right to be there – quite the contrary.

    • Ryan Schauland (f.k.a. ryuns)

      Interesting article, but I found the tone a little distracting too. I actually think it did nothing to strengthen the picture the author was trying to paint, with a good, well-researched It seems that while straddling the line editorializing and attempted objectivity might be allowed by Sac Press, it doesn’t necessarily make for the best story. Just my feedback, worth about what you paid for it.

    • Jared Goyette

      I think the only area of the piece that conveys that tone is the lead, which is punchy, but could use a reference to the the stated objective of the city’s actions. Objectivity isn’t so much the goal as fairness and transparency. There is a line between “perspective” and “shrill” that is hard to straddle – and it’s topic I’m always happy to discuss. It’s not like we’ve figured out the perfect formula, but we do try our best. Would you be up for joining us for a live chat on this sometime soon?

  • Ed Murrieta

    It’s not that difficult to move your car every two hours, even if you are living in it. The unaddressed restriction is over-night parking — the time when living in your car becomes really serious.

    • William Burg

      This change wouldn’t restrict overnight parking, nor do I think it was intended to do so.

    • Ed Murrieta

      I understand that, William. The *issue* would be an issue if overnight parking was restricted. Daytime restrictions? See you in Miller Park, folks.

  • R.V. Scheide

    Someone call Marcos Breton. He’ll straighten out those vagrants.

  • “Where we gonna go?” One word…Santa Monica. The weather’s better, the people equaly caring and much, much better able to pay for services.

    • bye bye Sacpress

      No kidding… or Davis, or Folsom or Roseville.

      For its modest means, Sacramento is an incredibly compassionate and generous city. But articles like this make us sound like we are failing because we don’t provide enough shelters, underpasses and riverbanks for all of Northern California’s homeless population.

      Sacramentans can be proud that we care for more than our share of those in need. Enough is enough.

    • sonny iverson

      First of all, Santa Monica appears to be two words. Also- it is inhumane to continue moving homeless from one place to another because you dont want to be around them and feel entitled to more deserving of the space than they. These are people, not cattle.

      Also, the complete lack of services for the homeless and the over-abundance of attitudes like cogmeyer far more warrant the term “enough is enough”. MyQuest-careful who you allow to latch on to you acting as though they identify with you. Cogmeyer is the perfect definition of an internet ‘troll’- and he knows it

  • I was told the city is doing this because they think the few folks living in cars are dumping trash and spray painting the pillers out there, this is not true locals in the areas are dumping theirs extra trash and their kids are painting, people in cars don’t own things like king size beds or sofas, thats right just some of the trash I’ve seen there, try talking to some of them that live there, most are decent folks and vary helpful if you’re having a problem (like a flat tire) plus there are a few residents in the area that have multiple persons living in a home and need a place to park there overflow of cars because the city has meters all along 3rd so they park down there aswell, the city needs to get a clue once they begin this many other people who park there will be forced to pay three hundred or so dollars for parking permits, and most can’t afford that, then like already said the ones living there can and will move every two hours with little problem, or they will just move to another part of the area, these people are not bad or ever cause problems they are only trying to save themselves from living out in the open,

  • Lisa Ouellette

    This was the area I covered as part of a team doing the Homeless Count in 2011. Yes, people do sleep in their cars in this area, but the ones we interviewed were all quite polite to us. I learned to take a respectful view of our homeless population that night. No one in the cars bothered us. I can see this as an issue if there is litter or human waste, but I also have to have some compassion for someone who is living in their vehicle. I think that by pushing them out of this area, which is relatively remote, they’ll move the problem to somewhere else. Tough call.

    • It’s cruel to force people to live in cars when there are better options to get folks back on the road to self sufficientcy. Simple affordable housing with on-site supportive services has been shown time and time again to be the beat and most econonmical way to get people out of homelessness. We shouldn’t have people living in cars anywhere in our city.

  • I think the city just wants the revenue from state workers who park here for free during the day. There are a few cars and campers from people ‘living’ there but mostly it’s workers gaming the system. I’m all for the city charging the non-resident daytime population in this area.

    • The problem is most who park here can’t afford 300 dollars a month to go to school or work not all gooberment employees get paid big dollars, need you know one of the Parker’s here is a state employee, now today we had a Sacramento county work program come by and dumb a bunch of orange bags a broken chair and parts of a car off down here, how long till the collectors (as we call them) come along rip these bags open looking for recyclables and let the city blame the folks that choose to park there, notice I avoid saying camp or live cause we don’t we only park., I really don’t know what I’m worried about I pay taxes earn my own way and my car is licensed and insured, I can move my vehicle every two hours or park anyplace, I feel for the workers and students who can’t, I also think it’s funny be the way that one poster here thinks living in ones car is sad, yet as a long haul truck driver thats what I did for years until I had medical problems, i’d be happy to just be left alone until my doctor says I can go back on the road and leave California.

  • Looks like no one does much In the way of follow ups. Today theres no cars at all that’s funny sence Sacramento says they are helping. When will citizens wake up to the corruption in Sacramento.