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Emmaus Council tackles truck-parking issue

Council approves first reading of ordinance that would subject violators to fines for parking tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles on borough streets, unless they are loading or unloading goods.

Editor's Note: This story includes a correction made in the amount of the fines that can be administered for a violation.  

After receiving complaints from residents for several years about tractor trailers and other commercial trucks parked on residential streets, Emmaus Borough Council on Monday took a step toward eliminating the problem.

Council unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance that will make it unlawful to do two things on any street, alley or borough-owned property: park a commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 26,001 pounds, or park any vehicle requiring a commercial driver’s license.

The only exceptions are for loading or unloading goods or during times of road construction. Also, the ordinance does not apply to authorized municipal vehicles or emergency vehicles.

Violators will be subject to a fine of not less than $15 for the first offense, not less than $50 for the second offense, a minimum of $75 for the third offense with a maximum of $300 for any offense. 

Prior to the meeting Monday, Borough Manager Shane Pepe said the issue of tractor-trailer parking on residential streets has been considered by Emmaus Council on and off for several years.

In recent months, residents' complaints have increased, Pepe said, adding that residents have sent letters and photos of the trucks to council members.

“It’s a major safety concern,” Pepe said. “It’s a line-of-sight issue.”

Trucks take up spaces designed for residential parking, Pepe said. Also, he said, their weight can damage roads.

Consequently, he said, there are infrastructure issues even though safety is the primary concern.

During the meeting Monday, Council President Lee Ann Gibert said, “This is long overdue. It is, in fact, a safety issue.”

Councilman Wesley Barrett said the truck parking issue is “overwhelmingly” one of the biggest concerns in the borough.

Councilman Brent Labenberg said he previously opposed any action, but has changed his mind for two reasons: Trucks have damaged some curbs, and he has learned that some trucks come from out of town specifically to park in Emmaus.

The ordinance now must be advertised seven days in advance of a final vote by Council.

Sharon Robertson August 21, 2012 at 03:06 PM
For Emmaus residents who are truck drivers--what about if this is someone's livelihood (i.e. owner-operator)--they may be forced to sell there home and move else where. Why not include a stipulation they can't be parked more than 'x' days before being fined?
Steve August 21, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Total BS! Make it harder to earn an honest living. Without us, you wouldn't have ANYTHING in your stores. Way to keep sticking it to the little guy. People are just ignorant and only think of themselves around here. Emmaus used to be a nice place.
Sharon Robertson August 21, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Or, if your job requires you to be 'on-call' for emergency deliveries? Would that fall under the 'loading-unloading' stipulation?
Steve August 21, 2012 at 03:09 PM
They should at least allow bobtail parking and designate a place for others.
Sharon Robertson August 21, 2012 at 03:17 PM
This same thing occured in Allentown a few years back, and a few nice people with well kept homes who lived there for years ended up moving since they were drivers too. Now when driving by those homes, they have been up for sale, for rent, and by all means no longer well kept homes. Just watch so the same thing doesn't happen in Emmaus! Rethink this ordinance please!
Mike Fish August 21, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Unfortunately the law is unconstitutional, just like Allentown's truck ordinance. The streets must be posted to inform the public of the prohibition. If you get a ticket, just fight it on the grounds of 'No Signage'. Municipalities may enact their own prohibited parking ordinances, however they MUST post the prohibition if it is different from the State Vehicle Code.
Mike Fish August 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM
ANY parking ordinance which is enacted by a Municipality which is materially different from the parking restrictions in the vehicle code MUST be posted to inform the public. Look it up.
Mike Fish August 21, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Cities pass these BS laws and pray no one challenges them. Here's your chance to nip it in the bud. The Borough won't pay $100,000.00 + to post every street in town and this will die a quiet death.
Jason Heminitz August 21, 2012 at 04:51 PM
I know several truck drivers. They try to be corteous when parking their trucks not to be a safety hazard. Obviously that's not everyone. They can pass this law and put up signs. Why not have the truckers write down their info and it could be on file. If not on file, ticket issued and/or towed away. Most truckers don't have much time with their families. Being able to park near their house, instead of an easy hour away at a yard, gives them more time with their family.
johnw August 21, 2012 at 05:12 PM
It's about time. For those who object perhaps it can be arranged to have the trucks park in front of their homes.
Sharon Robertson August 21, 2012 at 06:19 PM
We do Johnw!
Steve August 21, 2012 at 07:34 PM
That's where I park... Perhaps we should just go on welfare and you can pay for my income.
Patrice Sidoione All That Salon August 22, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I wonder if it would be possible to create some sort of lot with borough property that truckers who live in Emmaus could park their car when not using & when they return park their truck in the Special lot??? That sounds like a trade as if signage would cost $100k why not park on land owned by borough that would not take up street parking, cause a safety issue for visual around a truck, etc. etc. If it is only about where they could park create an area with a permit fee to park year round!
Staci August 22, 2012 at 02:35 AM
We have one that is parked a block down for us. I complained last year because it's parked right in front of the bus stop which just isn't right. The kids have a hard time crossing the street because the truck is parked right at the corner. I have seen many fender benders as well at the intersection because cars have a hard time looking down the street for oncoming traffic because of the truck parked right there. I am in favor of this for the safety of my child and many others at the bus stop.
johnw August 22, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Patrice that's an excellent idea and perhaps a resonable compromise.
CM August 23, 2012 at 12:57 AM
This is and has been such bolonie. I agree that a trucks size and weight do pose legitimate concerns but come on...banning them! Divers who don't live in Emmaus shouldn't be allowed to park here but the drivers who DO live in Emmaus pay their taxes just the same as everyone else. I remember hearing years ago when this was brought up that people said it blocked and ruined the view (with reference made to the street by the library). Block what view for who? The dead people in the cemetary? Personally I think that street in particular is a great parking spot- open and not in front of houses with easy access to wide open roads. I will be livid if trucks are replaced with no truck parking signs. Who the heck thinks signs posted everywhere is a nice view compared to trucks that offer their own unique design features and is a reminder of the basis of this country. These drivers already face great challenges in their line of work, worrying where they will be able to park their truck to go finally go home to their wife and kids after being out on the road (delivering YOUR freakin' bananas and TV's to WalMart) for several days straight! How about deciding which streets would be o.k. for them to park on and issue permits that they can display in their windshields. A nominal fee could be charged for the permit and resident verification would need to be supplied to acquire said permit.
ron August 23, 2012 at 05:41 AM
To ban trucks from all public streets is ridiculous. Pepe says its a major safety concern, Barret says this issue is overwhelmingly one of the biggest concerns in the borough, Gilbert says this is long overdue. Wow talk about out of touch. If there was a list of issues, safety concerns or just concerns in general im sure truck parking would be near the bottom of the list for most of the people in Emmaus. If this law would be voted on in referendum im sure it would lose in a landslide. The last thing we need is for government to add to the list of things we cant do. It might be true that you cant fix stupid, but maybe you should have to be tested for it before you are sworn in to serve on council. Just kidding even idiots can run for office in America thats what makes our country great and crazy all at the same time.
tamarya August 27, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Allentown has a truck ordinance? I think they got bigger issues to keep off their streets over big rigs.

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