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Truckers in South Texas town balk at trucking ordinance

Truckers in South Texas town balk at trucking ordinance

Some truck drivers in Palmview, Texas, may soon have to find a new place to park. 

The Palmview City Council recently reminded residents of a trucking ordinance that prohibits operation and parking of any truck, semi-trailer or tractor on specific streets inside city limits. The ordinance has been around since 2005 but has not been enforced for at least a decade.

“To the best of my knowledge, no truckers that reside in the city knew about these ordinances that were adopted since 2005,” said Britney Gonzalez, a Palmview resident whose family works in the trucking industry. “The ordinances having existed now for over 15 years have never been enforced.”

Palmview’s announcement about the trucking ordinance was made on the city’s Facebook page on Feb. 9 and drew more than 180 comments from the community.

The city of Palmview’s Facebook post on Feb. 9 included a map to remind residents of a city ordinance that prohibits the operation of trucks on specific streets. (Image: city of Palmview Facebook page)

The ordinance could involve not only not parking, but driving on certain streets. It could also include a fine of up-to-$300, according to the city’s Facebook post.

Many of the Facebook comments were from people who identified themselves as truck drivers or trucking company owners. 

“The Palmview area has an abundant amount of hard working truckers. Please reconsider this ordinance as the livelihoods of our residents depend on it,” a respondent wrote.

Other responses were from residents who said they supported the enforcement of the ordinance.

“Happy to hear this. There are still trucks going into the neighborhood and maybe they don’t stay anymore but still they are damaging our neighborhood streets,” wrote one. 

Gonzalez said the trucking community has several concerns about the ordinance, such as where trucks can be parked safely, whether they will have to pay for parking permits and how much possible fines could be.

“We don’t see how it’s fair to be told to suddenly abide by these ordinances and leave our trucks somewhere else, especially when the city itself doesn’t have sufficient alternative parking areas nearby,” Gonzalez said.

City officials told FreightWaves the reason the trucking ordinance is being enforced again is to protect city roads and infrastructure. 

“With the infrastructure changes and improvements that we’ve had recently, the city is definitely concerned about some of the roadways that clearly cannot sustain a heavy movement on top of them,” said Eric Flores, Palmview city attorney. “Other concerns are from the residents having 18-wheelers in the front of their houses and subdivisions, which block right-of-ways, and driveways.”

Palmview is located along Interstate 2 in the Rio Grande Valley. It is part of the McAllen–Edinburg–Mission-Pharr metropolitan areas. Palmview is about 19 miles from the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.

Luis Bazán, bridge director of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, said lack of parking for truck drivers is an industrywide problem across the country. 

The city of Pharr is building a 20-acre truck parking and staging area to help with the issue, Bazán said.

“A lot of the trucks park overnight, they kind of get into the industrial park areas, they park in and around some of the streets, and there’s no enforcement behind it. But why can’t we enforce it? We can’t enforce it, because we don’t have a place to put them,” Bazán said. “Our goal is to get these truck drivers to go and start using these new facilities that are going to be tailor-made specifically for them.”

Bazán said Pharr’s truck parking and staging area could be ready by the end of 2021.

The city of Palmview held a town hall meeting about the trucking ordinance on Feb. 25. Flores said the meeting was productive and city officials are taking into consideration the community’s concerns.

“I think it’s important to note that currently the city is not enforcing the ordinance. We’re gathering all the feedback and proposals from the residents before we begin to enforce, or if we decide to amend,” Flores said. 

Gonzalez said she hopes the city will reconsider the ordinance and how it will affect the local trucking industry.

“They seem to expect us to pay for permits, when our neighboring city of Penitas gives their trucks permits at no cost,” Gonzalez said. “We understand the situation, and hope that our City Council will consider our trucking community in any future decisions they make.”

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5 March 2021, 00:06