In DuBois … Truck Ordinance Goes Back to the Drawing Board

(GantDaily Graphic)

DUBOIS – A council bill was sent back to near drawing board stages after it became clear it wasn’t going to work as intended at Monday night’s DuBois City Council meeting.

The bill was designed to prevent certain types of truck from impeding traffic on public roads by parking on them.  The council bill as originally written would prohibit vehicles weighing over 18,000 pounds gross, loaded, from parting in residential districts.  There was an exception for immediate deliveries.  The first reading was approved in order to allow comments from the public.

“Here, one particular thing we were talking about is South Main Street, but if you look at the map you can see [the problem truck parking area] isn’t marked residential.  So it doesn’t really fix our problems,” said City Manager John “Herm” Suplizio.

This highlighted one of the two problems with the bill as it currently stands.  As pointed out earlier in the night when discussing whether or not the city has the ability to change the speed limits of Main Street and West Park Avenue to 25 miles-per-hour by DuBois Police Chief Mike DiLullo that the Pennsylvanian Vehicle Code mentions residential district as well, but no word of zoning.  The difference affects the city’s ability to decide the speed limits for those two streets.

“The way this is written right now there are tractors that sit on Main Street, and that is a commercial district,” said Suplizio.

City Solicitor Toni Cherry explained that a residential district can be a road of any zoning where people actually live on.  In regards to the bill and zoning, the targeted road of Main Street passes through five different zones types on either side of the road.  Occasionally leaving and reentering the same zone type.  Some of which are residential zoned.

The second flaw in the bill that came to light is the prohibition based on weight.  The size tractors with a trailer loaded can legally weigh up to 80,000, and up to 90,000 with certain permits in Pennsylvania.  So can some specialized trucks, such as tire trucks, that aren’t much bigger than a normal pick-up truck that wouldn’t impede traffic flow.  This would impact certain business, such as some mechanics, in the City of DuBois as to where they can park their vehicles.

DiLullo added that after doing some research, to go with a weight based prohibition the limit would have to be dropped down to around 14,500 pounds to catch all tractors.  Some single axel cabs parked without a trailer would full under the planned 18,000 weight limit, but with mirrors, lights and other accessories would still impede traffic due to their widths.

“I think the problem is twofold, the description of the vehicles and prohibiting them from residential districts only,” said Cherry.

Council will look to revise the bill to correct these two issues.  One of the angles they will look at is prohibiting parking by certain vehicles based on the width, length and possibly height of the vehicle instead of weight.

As a few council members acknowledged, knowledge of large trucks is not something that is plentiful in the council.  They hope to work with citizens of the city who own and use larger trucks to provide the insight and knowledge get a bill that works well.

The City of DuBois also moved forward to change the speed limit of West Park Avenue from Dixon to DuBois Street to 25 mph as per a request from a local resident.  Main Street, brought up by DiLullo, was 35 mph in one direction, but 25 mph in the other direction.  The council voted to move forward in the process to unify Main Street’s speed limit from Brady Street to Franklin as 25 mph.

While both sections of roadway fall under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code to be 35 mph by default, the council felt the residential district wording allowed both to fall under the category of roadways allowing local municipalities to reduce the speed limit further.

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