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Fremont Using Boulders To Deter RV Dwellers

A growing number of vehicles have been gathering in Fremont along an industrial road next to the 880 freeway. People sleep in many overnight — some for months. Now, the city has decided that they need to go.

The image is striking. On one side of the street, gleaming buildings house tech giants such as Tesla and Seagate. On the other is a line of vehicles stretching over a mile. It’s a mix of RVs, trailers, semi-trucks, and cars. This stretch of Kato Road has been used as a makeshift rest stop for years by truckers. But for several months now, more and more homeless people living in RVs have also been making this area their home.

 

The city parked an electronic sign on the street last week banning the practice — but the new restrictions came as a surprise to many. Lynn Shipman has been living here with her boyfriend in their RV for the past three months. She says there hasn’t been much communication from the city.

"That blinking sign right down the road and all," she says, "that's all we know. It's all we know. We're supposed to be gone by tomorrow."

 

The city of Fremont is forcing the issue. It’s planning to move boulders into the space starting today. According to a spokesperson, "The use of boulders is a known cost-effective measure for use as a barrier." She says the city has been receiving complaints over the past year as the number of vehicles has grown.

 

Fremont’s board of supervisors recently approved the construction of a new homeless navigation center. But it doesn’t have a space designated for safe RV and trailer parking, like the ones recently opened in Oakland.

 

Shipman says she’s uncertain about what will happen once she’s forced out. "I'm guessing that I'm going to go further up 880 and pick an exit and try to find someplace else," she says. "But I'm waiting until the very last minute, as you've noticed."

 

The city plans to have all boulders in place by the end of Friday.