Frustration continues for local residents as 18-wheel trucks take up chunks of parking along major streets.
By Jason KUROSU
The 4th of July celebrations at La Crescenta Elementary left many scrambling for a parking spot on Thursday. And there was little hope for free space on the freeway overpasses along Ramsdell, La Crescenta and Briggs avenues, which were occupied by several 18-wheel trucks.
Crescenta Valley Town Councilmember Harry Leon said that while the number of parked trucks was higher than usual on the 4th, it was not an isolated occasion.
“They’ve been parking there, taking up 3½ car lengths worth of space,” said Leon. He added that he has tried pushing the issue at town council meetings and hopes that the county can enforce an ordinance to keep trucks from parking in town for more than a few hours at a time.
“We’re well aware of the problem,” said council president Cheryl Davis. “We see it everyday. But you have to be careful. We don’t want to hurt anyone living in our neighborhood with any restrictions.”
But Leon doesn’t think the big rigs are owned or driven by local residents.
“Most of these are coming from out of town. I’m going around, seeing trucks from Riverside and San Bernardino parked here for long periods of time,” said Leon.
The town council has had public hearings on the big rig issue that resulted in parking restrictions implemented along the overpass of Ocean View Boulevard in March 2011.
The Ramsdell Avenue freeway overpass is a particularly sensitive area as that is space needed for Crescenta Valley High School students to park their vehicles.
“When [big rigs] park there, they are taking parking away from our high school students,” Leon said. “Our students are getting parking tickets while the trucks are taking up spaces they could be using.”
Leon said the trucks also present a hazard for drivers trying to exit driveways flanked by big rigs, which block the view of oncoming traffic.
Residential streets are not the only parking areas favored by the 18-wheelers, however.
“One of the trucks was parked in front of the Fire House [on Foothill Boulevard and Rosemont Avenue], close to my car,” said Davis. “I told the driver that I had seen him parking there overnight before and that he was taking up four parking spaces on a regular basis. He told me, ‘If it’s illegal, they’ll ticket me,’ before moving his truck.”
Cindy Cleghorn, of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, said the Tujunga board has tried passing motions on big rig trucks in the past.
“The problem is enforcement,” said Cleghorn.
Leon agreed. “They’re taking advantage of the leniency of the [county],” Leon said of the area drivers.
The big rig issue is not limited to the Crescenta Valley. Earlier this week, San Diego’s city council adopted parking restrictions on oversized vehicles, which could potentially lead to a citywide, overnight parking ban on big rig trucks in the future.