Mountain View is expected to sign a deal with Live Nation that would extend the city's safe parking program outside Shoreline Amphitheatre through the end of next year, preserving a high-demand service for the homeless that was set to expire in June.
Under the terms of the agreement, the city will continue to use a portion of the concert venue's "Lot B" for people living in cars and RVs through December 2022. The safe parking site has been a cornerstone of the city's strategy to relocate inhabited vehicles parked along city streets, and has been packed since last year.
The deal also includes new off-site parking for the future residents of Mountain View's "Homekey" homeless housing project currently under construction on Leghorn Street.
The safe parking lot had a weak start in 2019 when it launched with overnight-only restrictions, but picked up steam last April when a deal with Santa Clara County allowed it to operate 24 hours a day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for most of the program's life, Shoreline Amphitheatre lay dormant with all live performances cancelled.
But with concert season tentatively scheduled to start back up in June, the safe parking site along Crittenden Lane will have to share space with concert-goers. Live Nation has reportedly found enough off-site parking to make up for the loss of spaces on Lot B, according to a city staff report.
In return, the city will allow Live Nation to extend its concert season beyond Nov. 15 to Nov. 21, which would allow for Shoreline to host the annual Audiotistic Festival. City officials said the event has caused "issues" in the past -- possibly related to crime, noise complaints or drug use -- but nevertheless recommended the extension.
The 29 safe parking spaces at Shoreline have been "completely full" for months, and currently 60 people are living on the site, according to Michael Love, operations manager for the nonprofit MoveMV. When spaces do open up, he said, they are swiftly filled by people on the waiting list.
The city's agreement with Live Nation also includes a newly designated parking site adjacent to the safe parking in Lot B, with up to 44 spaces available for use by the nonprofit LifeMoves for its upcoming homeless housing project. The spaces will serve as off-site parking for future residents, who will live more than a mile away from their vehicles.
City officials said in a staff report that LifeMoves searched extensively for 20 to 50 off-street parking spaces near the Homekey housing complex, but that it couldn't come to agreement with surrounding businesses, churches and other neighbors in the area. Instead, the nonprofit is planning to use Lot B for residents' commuter vehicles and longer-term RV parking, and said that it will operate a shuttle program to transport residents between the interim housing site and their vehicles.
Representatives of LifeMoves did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The original timeline called for completion of the Homekey project by this month, but the location remains an active construction site.
The three-way agreement between the city, LifeMoves and Live Nation is expected to be approved by the Mountain View City Council at its meeting on Tuesday, April 13. Once LifeMoves has a better sense for its parking needs, city officials say the plan is to consider expanding the number of safe parking spaces available on Lot B. Love said the demand is there.
"There are still people on the street and in need of safe parking," he said.
At the same time, the city is expected to begin installing signs next month prohibiting RVs from parking on most city streets, likely increasing the pressure for alternatives like safe parking. The RV restrictions were approved by city voters in November last year, and would push an estimated 191 RVs off of any streets less than 40 feet wide. The ordinance was crafted as a means to remove homeless people living in oversized vehicles along public roadways.