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Abandoned Cars Create A Parking Nightmare In East San Jose Neighborhood

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- A plan in San Jose aims to rein in the parking chaos plaguing the city's east side. The city's planning commissioner Rolando Bonilla announced an effort to implement a parking permit system but some neighbors are taking matters into their own hands.

Bonilla has fielded complaints about vehicle owners traveling to east San Jose and leaving damaged or in operable cars parked in neighborhoods for long periods of time.

"People are absolutely using East San Jose as storage for their extra vehicles," said Bonilla.

As a result, homeowners have taken to placing orange cones or pylons to reserve spots directly in front of their home.

Majesty Mayfield, who lives near I-680 and King Road, says multi-generational families on her street and an apartment complex nearby, has lead to more vehicles and more demand for parking.

"There's even times when people get into fights, over parking. Maybe not physical fights, but definitely 'Hey I was gonna park there!' or 'Hey, you shouldn't put a cone there!' I definitely think stuff like this needs to be resolved. It is a problem," said Mayfield.

"So what's happening is a lot of families are being forced to put out cones just to be able to have the right to park in front of their own home."

Bonilla is proposing a parking permit pilot program for the approximately 100,000 residents of District 5 in east San Jose. The plan calls for two to four permits per parcel to be provided by the city at no cost to the property owner or tenant.

"Obviously, people will have the right to come visit and they will be there for a certain amount of time. But what we're really aiming at is cars that are parked at locations for long periods of time, eating up the low volume of parking that is available. That's really who we're targeting here," said Bonilla.

The program would likely be similar to a permit program near San Jose State University, that encompasses the surrounding neighborhoods and prevents the thousands of students from flooding adjacent streets.

"This works everywhere, right? From New York City to San Francisco, to other parts of this city, this type of structure, this type of program that allows for residents to know they'll always be able to park in front of their own home, works. To essentially allow for these communities to push out cars that aren't from the immediate community, and give families the opportunity to park in front of their own home," said Bonilla.

Maria Gomez, who lives on Magellan Avenue, has been monitoring a white sedan that has been parked in front of her home for four months. Gomez says the car is an eyesore, covered in dirt and cobwebs, with flattened tires and expired tags. Repeated calls to police and the city have resulted in multiple parking tickets, but Gomez has been unsuccessful at removing the vehicle.

"I'm very angry because the city, no help. I'm paying for my property tax, I pay for my car, I pay for everything. But the city, no help," said Gomez.

Bonilla is soliciting support from various council members and will seek to place the proposal on next week's Rules Committee agenda.

If approved, the parking permit program could head to a vote before the full council by the end of October, according to Bonilla.

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