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Have mercy on travelers, truckers who want to park overnight

Searle Whitney
Saturday June 08, 2002

To the Editor: 

I can't help but feel that the recent measure passed by the Berkeley City Council banning overnight parking on University Avenue west of the freeway is out of step with the hospitable ethos and liberal spirit of Berkeley.  

Certainly, as one who loves the Environment, I can appreciate the concerns of the Council members regarding the aesthetic impact of trucks parked near a future park area. But shouldn't we also consider that this is not pristine wilderness; the area is adjacent to a 10-lane interstate? 

Even supporters of the ordinance note that overnight parking by the freeway is not a problem, they only fear it might become one.  

May I remind them that travelers have been parking in the area for the past 25 years without it becoming a problem. And this is a nighttime use of the area, and so conflicts only minimally with the daytime recreational use of the park by bikers, walkers, sailors and others.  

Only a few early risers are even aware that travelers sometimes park in the area. 

Most importantly, the criminalization of overnight parking near the freeway inconveniences and endangers two segments of the population. One is a vital segment of the work force: the truckers who bring us our food, clothes, bicycles, furniture and just about everything we purchase.  

Now our thanks to them is to say get out of town!  

The second segment is travelers who are too poor to afford a motel or too tired to find one. Since the Frontage Road is now closed to parking, can't we offer these people some other easily accessible place to park. 


Searle Whitney