By Mary O’KEEFE
The signs are up and the citation books are out. Big rigs that park along streets and alleys in La Crescenta will now be ticketed if they disregard the new ordinance.
“I think it is [great] that the [California] Highway Patrol and [Crescenta Valley] Sheriff are supporting the community and ticketing [owners of] vehicles that are violating this ordinance,” said Robbyn Battles, president of Crescenta Valley Town Council.
In January, the Los Angeles County board of supervisors approved a ban on commercial trucks in excess of 10,000 pounds parking on streets and alleys. It does allow for loading and unloading of commercial vehicles for service and construction related activities.
Harry Leon, CVTC vice president, had discussed the issue of big rigs at council meetings as more trucks began to park along local streets. Residents also spoke of concerns about the increased big rig traffic.
The issue seemed to reach a boiling point after the Fourth of July celebration last year. Big rigs were parked at almost every freeway crossover bridge in the La Crescenta area. Parking on Ramsdell Avenue reduced available parking for the CV fireworks event.
Concerns from residents included not only parking issues but also the unknown content of the truck’s payload. Opposition voiced over Internet comments included a concern that big rig drivers were being targeted, and that at times drivers needed to pull off the main highways to rest. In addition, some pointed out that many items that are found in stores were supplied via big rigs.
The CVTC took it all into consideration.
“We are not talking about a driver who pulls over to sleep,” Leon said at a CVTC meeting. The concern was the long-term parking. Some trucks were parked in the same space for three days and, in some cases, up to a week.
“This is the community doing what they are supposed to do in utilizing the CVTC and working together,” Battles said of the residents who voiced their big rig concerns. “It is change for the better.”
CVTC member Charles Beatty had contacted the CHP office in Altadena to ask if they could do anything prior to the installation of the signs.
CHP Officer Manuel Rodriguez said he had observed the big rigs parking in the La Crescenta area but until the signs were posted he could not write any citations. The signs were put up late Monday. Rodriguez began giving citations in response to the new ordinance on Tuesday night.
Prior to the new ruling, the ordinance on some streets banned parking from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.; however, Rodriguez said that drivers would move trucks around the area to streets that did not have that restriction. He did cite trucks for violations, including registration issues, prior to the signage and spent time in the area to get familiar with parking problems.
The citations can come with a warning for the first few weeks.
“If there is a speed sign [change], we usually give a month of [warning citations]. That is standard,” he said.
But parking ordinance violations are usually given warnings for only a couple of weeks, he added.
Rodriguez and other CHP officers will continue to be in the area to make certain the big rig drivers and owners are aware of the new ordinance.