Thursday, December 29, 2005

Suburban anti-stealth camping

We are parked in an on-street spot adjacent to Montclaire Park, in Los Altos, California (map). This is a small park with two tennis courts and a swing set, and no parking other than on-street. We are here because we are going to a holiday party about a block from here, and we did not want to drive anyplace after a glass or two of wine.

Los Altos is a neatly manicured town of mostly million-dollar-ish homes, which is high even for the bay area, land of sky-high real estate. Consequently, on-street parking is highly regulated and rigidly enforced by a well-staffed and well-equipped police department. The park closes at 7pm, and parking or loitering near it after closing is prohibited. When I researched the Los Altos municipal code on their well-organized web site, the specific section relating to this stated that exemptions could be granted by the chief of police for "special use."

Elsewhere on the internet I found the email address of the current police chief, so I wrote asking for permission to park overnight, based on not wanting to navigate our giant coach through his city, in the dark, after a party where wine would be served. (We did offer to pay for a special-use permit, if required.) A bit to my surprise, he readily agreed, and notified the watch commander that we would be staying tonight. So our hat is off to the city of Los Altos and the LAPD.

It will be interesting to see whether any of the residents immediately across the street from us calls us in. We did leave a note on the dashboard explaining we have permission from the police chief, but it is hard to read in the dark.

We will head off to our party shortly. In the morning, we will head down to Sunnyvale, where we are scheduled to have our carpet cleaned.

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