Trouble in the streets! Angst grows over number of RVs ‘stored’ in residential areas

Published: June 7, 2024

The Covid pandemic famously kickstarted a caravanning and camping boom which saw record numbers of travellers hitting the open road.

And, as the years have passed, that boom has now led to a new phenomenon … sky-high numbers of caravans, motorhomes and campervans that are not on the open road.

The result is an RV storage problem that is seeing many vehicles parked long-term on residential streets and that is causing angst in some communities.

The latest flashpoint is the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda where mobile homes, storage trailers, and boats are apparently taking up large numbers of parking bays on Alexandra Street.

The issue is so significant that some residents claim they can no longer find a parking spot for themselves, and that the area resembles a ‘caravan park’.

The state government says registered towable vehicles, including caravans, campers, boats and trailers, are permitted to be parked on streets if the vehicle is under 7.5 metres in length and weighs less than 4.5 tonnes.

RVs parked on a residential street on the NSW Mid North Coast. PIC: CIzza

Councils have the capacity to introduce requirements which would require owners to obtain a permit to park their towable vehicle on council land for a particular length of time.

The Today Show reports that 13 local residents have reportedly signed a letter calling for a four-hour parking restriction on the street in St Kilda, and council officers will do a seven-day survey to assess the situation.

Port Phillip Council Deputy Mayor, Louise Crawford, has put forward motion calling on council staff to investigate options to reduce the amenity impacts of the vehicles and report back

The motion said long-term storage of caravans, campervans in the area was a longstanding issue.

“Considering the above, a large proportion of vehicles impacting the local community are parked legally with no mechanism in place to address this issue,” Cr Crawford writes.

Urban planner Dr David Mepham, the author of a book titled Rethinking Parking, told the Age newspaper that urban kerbs are a public space not really designed for long-term caravan storage.

“Councils have a responsibility to step up, councils regulate the kerb space,” he said. “This is St Kilda, it is not out the back of Bourke, it is a busy dense urban environment with a lot of competition for kerb space, it is a finite resource that needs to be managed.”

If Port Phillip Council, and presumably other local authorities, eventually introduce restrictions limiting on-street parking, the issue facing many grey nomads and other travellers is ‘what do we do with our RVs when we’re not on the road?’.

Average block sizes have been getting smaller for some time, making storage on their own properties difficult for many.

And a lot of companies specialising in RV storage report being full and, in many cases, with significant waiting lists.

In these circumstances, there is no obvious solution to a growing issue.

Perhaps, as pressure continues to build in some quarters to have councils tighten up RV parking regulations, the authorities will look at how other countries have addressed the situation.

In Japan, for example, anyone wishing to buy an RV has get a ‘garage certificate’ from police to prove they have access to an off-street parking space. And overnight on-street parking is banned across the country!

  • Where do you park your RV when you are not on the open road? Do you think it is okay for people to leave their vans in the street long-term? Comment below.

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Surely this cannot be a major issue? if it is parked outside your home then is should be acceptable. What is the major issue being cited by those who are complaining?

They don’t park outside their own home.

You own the home not the public street. This is very much a major issue. About time councils got there act together and started fining people who leave caravans boats trailers etc on the street. The street is not yours to abuse.

If it registered, roadworthy and parked properly it should be able to be parked in the street, outside the owner’s home.

I think the key point here is “outside the owners home”. My neighbour has 3 vehicles plus two tenants vehicles, all of which are parked in the street.this then becomes an issue for everyone else.

When parked near corners and other positions caravans and boats can be a traffic hazard creating blind spots for passing motorists.

I’ve seen this in many towns in our travels. Some streets are not wide enough for caravans etc

Good point! I live on Bribie Island, the island with a bridge and we have giant caravans all over the place. They should pay to park offroad if it is more than a week.

We leave ours on a gravel pad in our front garden.
In our area by the beach, existing houses are being demolished to make way for twin two story townhouses on each block.
Sea change couples are buying these luxury townhouses & parking their 20ft+ caravans & motorhomes on the road out the front.
They’re everywhere!

councils to charge the going rate storage places charge to store caravans on the roads, more cash for the councils, less boats,motor homes,caravans and other crap on council owned roads much safer for all

Interesting that you say council owned roads – aren’t you part of the council by paying your rates.
Personally I’m able to park on my property but as long as it’s registered and not being a nuisance for people to access their property then what can you say.

If they are worried about vans then with smaller houses being built everywhere should have a limit as to how many cars they can have. They have no carparks and park their cars in front of every bodies house ,stopping those residents from parking in front of their own house. Even when we caravaners store our carvans in storage we need to park on the streets overnight so we can pack and load our vans so we can leave early in the morning

Streets kerbside are public spaces intended for short term parking of residents and visitors not as storage solutions for vans, boats and trailers. These should be parked on private property of owners or designated council land. Council should restrict street parking of vans and trailers only while they are hitched to a towing vehicle.

If you can afford an RV or caravan then you must afford an appropriate place to store it when not travelling out of respect and consideration of society and your neighbours 48 hours would be reasonable
Plenty of time to load or unload
I do not believe streets are for vehicle, caravan, boat or trailer storeage
For a start they make the street untidy
I would hate looking out to see a caravan, boat or trailer permanently, or almost permanently, parked out in my street
Many streets are narrow and do not accomodate vehicle parking on both sides let alone the parking of an RV or caravan
This surely is an opportunity for more storeage businesses to meet the need for RV and caravan storeage and for storeage of boats and trailers
What if 4 people in a row in a street had caravans
Of course van owners would expect people to leave space for them to hitch up their vans as well so that is additional space taken
The potential for disgruntled neighbours is extremely high
Just my impatial opinion
I am a camper but
I do not own an RV or van
However 3 in my immediate family do
None park their vans on roads when not in use

Have you ever looked into the cost of storing a van / motorhome ? In Bundaberg we paid $300 a month when w3 had our van , it would not fit in our yard.
Think about it $3600 a year all for the pleasure of not parking on the road WHICH we are legally intitaled to do..

werribee council made me move my van from outside my sons place saying I was only allowed 2 hours for r&r

When we were thinking of purchasing a Camper Trailer/Hybrid van we thought very hard on where this vehicle would be housed. My husband was adamant that it would not be on the road or in the driveway for storage. After considerable measuring etc of the length and height of such a vehicle we decided to purchase something that would go into the garage or under a carport on our property.
Finally purchased a camper trailer which we both enjoying travelling with and not interrupting the car parking spaces on our street. These people should have organised housing of the vehicle and not
take up space on a public road.

Really, with RV’s and anything else such as trailers and boats, canoes kayaks etc etc if you haven’t got the space to keep them on your property then you shouldn’t buy them! Roads in particular are meant for transport not storage. It’s rather greedy to think that the public road is your storage area.

If someone parked their caravan/motorhome outside my place for any length of time it would prevent me from having my garbage collected.. cars are bad enough and in our street it has become the norm to put your bins out early and on the road, not the footpath, as if on the footpath and some one parked in front then it would not be emptied’

Of course there is a solution – if people are forced to find off street storage for their vans then more people/companies will start to open such facilities it is both dangerous and selfish to take up so much space – on public land. The reality is they do not want to spend that money if you can afford the circa $50-250,000 for a van / RV then you can afford to pay storage I have a van and I would not park in in a street curb for anything more than a couple of days when returning or setting out in a trip

Registration has been paid and should be treated with equality with any other registered and roadworthy vehicle.
p.s., I park all 3 of our vehicles within our 1200 sq. mtr. house block.

I’m with you Chris…

This issue is growing by the year, and I’ve heard all the Pros, Cons, & legal parking arguments. I’m my opinion, some people try to do the right thing and Park their RV in the front of their home, but due to growing lack of Street space, they take up other people’s parking spaces. When will Councils take responsibility for this issue and change the rules for large vehicle long term parking on the streets.

Permanent parking of any vehicle should not be allowed in any street. Streets in most suburbs are not wide enough for vehicle traffic let alone for parking. It is not only unsightly but is also a safety hazard.The Japanese have the right idea.

It is quite simple in my view, set a maximum width for parking on streets, particularly residential streets. Could restrict this to streets with a 50 kms limit or less. When we bought our van 10 years ago, cut down part of the front fence, laid a slab and park the van inside the fence.

I store my van out of the weather off the street in a shed where they belong It costs me dearly but it’s respect for neighbours and preservation of an asset I’ve worked hard for

Yes We have a 15Ft Van / 4.5M + Draw Bar = 6m overall & we spent a lot of Money having a Concrete Slab Laid across the Front of our Home on our Land so as to Store our Van Safely and meet the requirement of our Insurance Company. ,Councils should go inspect the Land available on the Van Motor Home Owners and if land is available look at he Legality of having those Owners park their Units on their Own Land..

Robert S

They need to be stored of streets abomination in our suburbs

We park our van in a dedicated van storage business on the outskirts of Perth when it’s not in use. Storage is outdoors (so we use a caravan cover) and costs only $70 per month. There are in excess of 600 vans / trailers and other RVs in the space … so it’s a lucrative business for the semi-retired ex-nurseryman.

I am lucky. I park my van in the driveway.
They just have to have more storage facilities, even if they are council run.

What a lot of NIMBYs! (or NIMFS)!!
If your RV is parked lawfully then there shouldn’t be an issue.
I park our RV in the street outside our home and none of my neighbours has an issue with it. (I’ve asked them.)
Adequate on street parking is becoming necessary as many houses don’t have adequate parking accommodation for 2 or more cars.
Having councils charge for parking on the street doesn’t solve any issues – it just gives them an opportunity to raise more funds.
The argument that being able to afford an RV means being able to afford to pay additional for parking is a stupid, illogical statement! It means nothing.
RV owners unable to park on their own property are already paying increased insurance premiums because of this.

I park my caravan in front of my property. I also park my work vehicle outside my property. I do not impinge upon the property of my neighbours. I can imagine the chagrin of those who are the “lucky” caretakers of someonee else’s caravan or boat.

I park mine on my front lawn. But do understand that it is difficult with homes now being built so close to the footpaths not allowing this to take place. Front lawns are dissapearing, so to me they should be allowed to park them in front of their own property ONLY!
Some people are just wingers.

In our street there are 2 caravans, ours and one a few doors down, both off the street. We are lucky enough to have ours behind locked gates. If they were parked on the street this would make access for local traffic impossible, especially at school drop-off and pick-up times. A small car would fit through but no emergency vehicles would have access.

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