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Oakland, California, has an abandoned car problem. Over six months in 2023, people reported nearly 14,000 abandoned cars to the city, and the situation has worsened in 2024. The city is running out of space to store the vehicles, resorting to stacking them on top of each other in some instances, and residents are fed up and frustrated with all the cars.

The vehicles litter the city’s streets, blocking access to homes, businesses, and even schools while chewing up valuable parking space. ABC 7 News Bay Area went on a ride-along with Oakland council member Noel Gallo, uncovering nearly 50 abandoned cars in about 30 minutes, all in various states of disrepair. Many had been stolen and stripped for parts, while others were victims of smash-and-grab operations.

According to ABC 7’s report, the Oakland Police Department will only respond if a vehicle is blocking access to a home. The Oakland Department of Transportation handles all the other abandoned vehicles, and it can take time to remove a car.

The city has so many abandoned cars that it pays nearly $1 million annually in storage costs, with one lot containing for than 2,000 vehicles. However, relief could soon be coming as city council members voted for increased funding to solve the issue, hiring multiple tow companies while utilizing parking lots from the California Department of Transportation. The city is also hiring 15 more parking control technicians who will hit the streets this year.

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