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Lathrop struggles to find solution to truck parking problem

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POSTED January 27, 2010 2:47 a.m.
LATHROP – An incident that happened two years ago in Lathrop highlights some of the problems related to truck parking, illegal or not.

Lathrop-Manteca Fire District Division Chief Gene Neely recalled that incident and brought it up before the City Council Monday night during a discussion on how to solve the problem of truck parking and the safety concerns that come as a result.

The story started with the discovery of a suspicious gallon container filled with urine on the side of the road at D’Arcy Parkway in the Crossroads Commerce Center. However, nobody knew what the liquid was when it was discovered so they took all necessary precautions, Neely said.

While the contents of the plastic bottle was being analyzed, and to ensure the public’s safety, Neely said traffic at D’Arcy Parkway had to be temporarily shut down which affected not just regular motorists but the trucks that use the busy route inside the industrial park. With the exception of Harlan  Road which is the main entrance to the commerce center from Interstate 5 via Louise Avenue, D’Arcy Parkway is Crossroad’s busiest traffic corridor since it is the primary ingress and egress to and from West Yosemite Avenue where the freeway ramps at the Highway 120 Bypass are less than a quarter of a mile away.

Fortunately for all concerned, Neely said the liquid inside the plastic bottle was just urine.

And that’s just one of the potential problems that the city could end up facing if the city decides to allow trucks to park on one side of Christopher Way in the commerce center. Parking along this somewhat tucked-away road in the southeast corner of the commerce center was suggested by the fire department in response to city staff’s request for input. The same request was forwarded to Police Services. Fire district staff deemed Christopher Way as “one of the best on-street (truck) parking spots” because it is a wide street with just city properties on either side of it. Since it’s out of visual sight from the freeways, “pass-thru stops” would unlikely occur, the district further explained.

City staff concurred with this suggestion from the fire district since it also helps address the police department’s concerns regarding surveillance of businesses.

While the fire district recommended Christopher Way, Neely pointed out that there’s still the issue of potential fire threat at this site.

“There’s a lot of grass there,” he said.

Piggy-backing on the urine incident, Mayor Kristy Sayles brought up other concerns related to that.

“Who’s going to go and clean up after them, their feces and urine? And how are we going to facilitate restrooms, water, etc?” she asked.

There is also the greater concern over the nature of the load that the trucks are carrying, Neely said, adding some of these vehicles are full of propane and other hazardous materials which “will affect the community.”

The frustration of the council members was echoed in council member Robert Oliver’s comment at one point during the lengthy discussion.

“We don’t have any solution to this problem. The problem is here. We can’t shut our eyes,” he said.

The agenda item at the council meeting was simply for information and discussion. However, the council directed staff to bring back the item at a future meeting with more details on what the city could do about modifying the municipal code to allow overnight truck parking in designated areas around town and at Crossroads Commerce Center.
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