No one is picking on truckers regardless of how hard some are trying to deflect the growing frustrations of Manteca residents.
It has always been illegal to park trucks in neighborhoods including driveways.
It has always been illegal for trucks not making deliveries to use non truck route streets and park their rigs there.
And it has always been a core responsibility of the city to take steps to assure public safety even along truck routes. It’s one of the reasons people bothered to incorporate as a city 103 years ago.
Those defending the renegade behavior of truckers who point blank tell law enforcement officers it is cheaper for them to park illegally in Manteca than to pay for commercial parking space act as if the community is trying to declare war on truckers.
It’s the other way around. Truckers declared war on Manteca first.
Those among contract drivers and independent truckers that are not following rules that every other city in the region seems to have no problem enforcing have simply made breaking the law part of their business plan. That, in turn, fattens their bottom line.
It is safe to say the vast majority of contract and independent drivers do follow the law. They park their rigs when not in use in commercial truck yards of which there are several in Stockton, Manteca and elsewhere with more on the way. Some contract with rural property owners to park their trucks on their land.
San Joaquin County, responding to complaints about commercial trucks not making deliveries traveling county roads, is working to amend agricultural zoning in areas near Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, and Stockton — the trucking hotbeds — to allow the development of large scale yards for truck parking. Several landowners are anxious to move forward once that happens.
There are even instances where locally owned distribution centers and similar industrial property will allow parking by other truckers for a fee.
Yes, it costs money for monthly or overnight parking.
But guess what, it costs money for monthly or overnight parking for RVs as well.
Come to think of it, didn’t Manteca have a similar uproar but on a much smaller scale a decade or so ago over RVs?
People were parking them on the streets for weeks at a time. Many were too close to intersections creating safety issues as their height blocked sight lines endangering motorists and pedestrians alike.
Many were also parking large RVs illegally in side yards against property lines blocking neighbor’s windows and comprising the use of their property.
The city has such rules in place for a reason. During the battle over RVs two potent examples of why the city has such rules in place literally flared up. There were two RVs over the course of the year illegally stored/parked too close to property lines that caught on fire. In each case the fences burned as well and in one instance so did the neighbor’s roof.
Manteca did not declare war on RVs. They simply brought order to the streets and put the brakes on blight-related issues that were being created by a relatively small but highly visible group of RV owners that included boats on trailers and simply unhitched trailers left on city streets.
In most such cases the RVs exceeded parking limitations of 72 hours that apply to all vehicles parked on city streets by weeks. A few left unhitched trailers loaded with debris on streets for long periods of time as well as unhitched trailers holding boats
Manteca doesn’t need to reach out to “an organization of truckers” as Mayor Ben Cantu wants to do simply to decide whether they should enforce city laws that are already on the books.
It’s akin to saying the city should seek input for a group representing slumlords before deciding whether to combat blight.
What the city needs to do is enforce the rules they put in place. They also, as Councilman Charlie Halford pointed out, need to make sure where trucks are allowed by the city to park legally along truck routes such as Moffat that they do so without endangering public safety.
Halford is right about those pedestrians — many of them kids — having to step out to look around parked trucks on Moffat and come within a foot or so of traffic speeding by at 45 to 55 mph per hour to visually see traffic when they are trying to cross Moffat at the Powers Avenue or Cowell Street intersections while using the access points the city put in place to reach the linear park known as the Tidewater Bikeway.
Halford suggested no truck parking for 40 feet on either side of the intersections. It doesn’t require an act of Congress. Just directive to staff to do so, some red paint and a few signs.
The city had no qualms or hesitations banning vehicles higher than 6 feet parking as posted signs advise in front of — and just beyond — the Manteca Transit Center on Moffat.
Of course, that’s city property and “new growth”. Trying to fix a safety issue in an established or older section of Manteca requires forcing people to go through a hundred hoops apparently in the hope they’ll just give up.
The same thing needs to be done at the Woodward & Moffat intersection where trucks parked three abreast make turning off of Woodward a daily safety gamble.
Halford also has another point that shouldn’t require the mayor to defer to a committee of truckers who are already breaking the law to help him decide to do what is best for Manteca.
The city has made it illegal to leave unhooked trailers parked on residential streets for more than several hours. Why should truckers be granted special status so they can do so on Moffat or any other street, truck route or not.
The trailers are often left for days on end. Given the fact, as Halford points out, such practice accelerates deterioration of pavement due to the weight of trucks, you’d think someone who constantly hammers how bad the streets are and the fact the city “is doing nothing” about it would be all over bringing the hammer down as an elected official when it comes to unhooked truck trailers left on city streets.
It’s time that those council members who basically engineered the purge at city hall on the premise persistent problems would finally be effectively addressed to start delivering.
Consulting a committee or an outside expert is not the answer.
Directing existing staff to come up with solutions and backing off so they can implement them is what needs to be done.
This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at email@example.com