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Proposed “Large Vehicles on Road” Ordinance

2011/10/19

Existing ordinance in black, proposed ordinance in red, my comments in blue.

CHAPTER
72: STOPPING, STANDING AND PARKING

ORDINANCE NO.2011-

AN ORDINANCE REGULATING THE PARKING OF CERTAIN VEHICLES UPON ANY PUBLIC STREET OR RIGHT OF WAY WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS IN ORDER TO IMPROVE TRAFFIC FLOW, INCREASE VISIBILITY, AND IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF NEIGHBORHOODS; AND PROVIDING A PENALTY FOR VIOLATION.

CHAPTER 72- PARKING of CERTAIN VEHICLES

GENERAL PROVISIONS

72.01 DEFINITIONS.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

72.01. Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

Bus. Every motor vehicle designed for carrying more than ten (10) passengers and used for the transportation of persons.

Commercial Motor Vehicle. Any motor vehicle designed or used for the transportation of property, not including a passenger bus, passenger automobile, motorcycle, panel delivery truck, or pickup truck.

Curb. The lateral lines of a roadway, whether constructed above grade or not, which are not intended for vehicular travel.

New definitions.  Interesting that “commercial vehicle” excepts nearly every type of vehicle commonly “designed or used for the transportation of property” except tractor-semitrailer rigs.  I’m fairly certain there’s already a term somewhere that could be used to just say “tractor-semitrailer rigs.”

LOADING ZONE.  A space or section of the curb and adjacent street set aside for the exclusive use of loading or unloading persons, merchandise, supplies and materials.

Loading Zone. A space or section of the curb and adjacent street set aside for the exclusive use of loading or unloading persons, merchandise, supplies and materials.

Median Strip. That area or portion of a divided street, road, or highway within the City separating the two roadways of said street, road, or highway and shall be held to include the curb, if any, at the outer edge of said area.

New definitions.

OPERATOR.  Every individual who shall operate a vehicle as the owner thereof or as the agent, employee or permittee of the owner.

Operator. Every individual who shall operate a vehicle as the owner thereof or as the agent, employee or permittee of the owner, including a railroad train or vehicle being towed.

Apparently a railroad train or vehicle being towed can now be the operator of a vehicle.
At this point, I’d like to propose that a new city staff position be created, titled “City Fifth Grade English Teacher,” who shall review all proposed ordinances before the City Attorney gets them, and who shall have the authority to smack the writer of the ordinance (and the City Attorney) with a ruler as often as necessary.

PARK, PARKING.  The standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading passengers or merchandise.

Park, Parking. The standing of a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading passengers or merchandise.

“While actually engaged in loading and unloading” is the key exception that people seem to be missing.  As you can see, the wording here is identical to the original ordinance.

Recreational Vehicle. A vehicle, towed or self-propelled, on its own chassis or attached to the chassis of another vehicle and designed or used for temporary dwelling, recreational or sporting purposes. This includes, but is not be limited to, travel trailers, pick-up campers, camping trailers, motor homes, converted trucks and buses, boats and boat trailers.

STANDARD OF TIME.  All hours mentioned in this chapter refer to and shall be determined by Central Standard Time as commonly known, except during any future time if any standard of time is established or proclaimed by the United States for an area including Stephenville, all such hours shall be determined by such officially proclaimed standard, so long as it remains in effect.

Standard of Time. All hours mentioned in this chapter refer to and shall be determined by Central Standard Time as commonly known, except during any future time if any standard of time is established or proclaimed by the United States for an area including Stephenville, all such hours shall be determined by such officially proclaimed standard, so long as it remains in effect.

Really? I’ve seen some odd contingency plans, but we’re concerned about time zones moving?  We’re what, 300 miles from the nearest time zone boundary, and somebody actually worried about this?  Believe me, if that happens, parking will be pretty low on the list of concerns for quite a while.

STREET.  Any public street or avenue located in the city and established for the use of vehicles.

Street. Any public street or avenue located in the city and established for the use of vehicles.

VEHICLE.  Any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported upon a street or highway.

Vehicle. Any device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported upon a street or highway.

72.02 RESTRICTIONS TO PARKING.

72.02 Restrictions.

(A) It shall be unlawful for any person or any owner to leave, park or stand any truck tractor, road tractor, truck trailer, semi-trailer, any other commercial motor vehicle with a rated capacity in excess of one ton according to the manufacturer’s classification, or any vehicles exceeding 25 feet in length, upon any public street or public right-of-way within any part of the city. This section shall not prevent the parking or standing of the above-described vehicles in such areas for the purpose of loading and unloading passengers, freight or merchandise.

A. lt shall be unlawful for any person or any owner to leave, park or stand any truck tractor, road tractor, truck trailer, semi-trailer, any other commercial motor vehicle with a rated capacity in excess of one ton according to the manufacturer’s classification, or any vehicles exceeding 25 feet in length, upon any public street or public right-of-way within any part of the city. This section shall not prevent the parking or standing of the above-described vehicles in such areas for the purpose of loading and unloading passengers, freight or merchandise.

Aside from the formatting, I don’t see any difference in these.  This would also apply to virtually all of the large vehicles I’ve seen causing traffic issues.

(B) It shall be unlawful for any person or any owner to leave, park, or stand any mobile home, motor home, travel trailer, boat trailer, stock trailer, or any other type of trailer upon any public street or public right- of-way in the city within any area zoned as a residential district or where the primary use is residential. However, there are two exceptions to the foregoing. A recreational vehicle owned by an out-of-town guest of a residential property owner may be parked on the street in front of the property he or she owns for a period not to exceed five days, providing such parking does not impair the regular flow of traffic. A property owner may also park a trailer (not a semi-trailer) in front of property he or she owns for a period not to exceed 24 hours, for a maximum of 72 hours in a year, providing that such parking does not impair the regular flow of traffic.

(C) This section shall not apply to street construction, maintenance and repair equipment used by public service utility companies engaged in repairing or extending public service utilities. Nor shall it apply to motor buses when taking on or discharging passengers at customary bus stops.

B. A person shall not stop, stand, or park a vehicle (if the vehicle is a truck tractor, road tractor, trailer, semi-trailer, pole trailer, bus, motor home, mobile home or any commercial motor vehicle, as said terms are defined in 72.01 of this Chapter or the Transportation Code), upon a public street, alley, parkway, boulevard measuring 45 feet or less in width, or public property. This section shall not authorize the parking of mobile homes in any location, public or private, unless pursuant to a permitted use authorized by the Zoning Ordinance or regulations of the Building Official. This section shall not apply to street construction, maintenance and repair equipment; trucks, equipment, trailers, and vehicles used by public service utility companies engaged in repairing or extending public service utilities; motor buses when taking on or
discharging passengers at customary bus stops; other vehicles when actually parked at a designated loading zone; municipal vehicles in the course of performance of City business; or when it is lawful to park a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of accepting or delivering transportable goods.
However, there are two exceptions to the foregoing. A recreational vehicle owned by an out-of-town guest of a residential property owner may be parked on the street in front of the property he or she owns for a period not to exceed five calendar days, providing such parking does not impair the regular flow of traffic. A property owner may also park a trailer (not a semi-trailer) in front of property he or she owns for a period not to exceed 24 hours, for a maximum of 72 hours in a year, providing that such parking does not impair the regular flow of traffic.

The proposed (B) appears to just be a long-winded version of the original (B) with buses and truck tractors added, and a rewording of the original (C) rolled into it. To me, it would seem more productive to simply add those vehicle types to (A), retaining 72.15-72.18 to allow certain exceptions for loading zones. 
In my opinion, the key phrase that should be present in every section and which should be the key determining factor in all cases is “providing that such parking does not impair the regular flow of traffic.”  I don’t care if it’s a Peterbilt or a Prius, if it’s parked in a way that disrupts traffic unnecessarily, it should be ticketed and towed.  Since the primary determining characteristics of a vehicle for this purpose would be length and width, I don’t see any real harm in simply defining vehicles by their dimensions rather than by subjective classes.

C. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the vehicle had a mechanical defect, making it unsafe to proceed further, in which event it shall be lawful to stand or park the vehicle during the time necessary to make emergency repairs.

This would probably benefit from a bit more clarification too; if your Accord stalls in the middle of Harbin while you’re hauling the Yellowjackets’ defensive line to practice, push it out of the road.  Obviously, this is not a reasonable demand to make of a paraplegic in an F350, but it should be fairly easy to write in a requirement to move it if such movement can be reasonably and safely accomplished.

D. This section shall not apply to street construction, maintenance and repair equipment; trucks, equipment, trailers, and vehicles used by public service utility companies engaged in repairing or extending public service utilities; motor buses when taking on or discharging passengers at customary bus stops; other vehicles when actually parked at a designated loading zone; municipal vehicles in the course of performance of City business; or when it is lawful to park a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of accepting or delivering transportable goods.

These exceptions are already made in the proposed (B) for residential areas.  It would make more sense, and make (B) more readable if they were removed from that section entirely, since (D) would appear to cover all areas.

72.03. Penalty

A violation of this ordinance shall constitute a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine as provided for in state statute.

72.15 MARKING OF LOADING ZONES.

Loading zones for handling of passengers and heavy or bulky merchandise, supplies and materials shall be laid out and marked with a sign with the words “Loading Zone,” posted to designate the loading zone.

72.16 TIME LIMIT FOR LOADING ZONE.

 (A) When using loading zones for the loading and unloading of heavy or bulky merchandise, supplies and materials, all loading and unloading shall be performed in an expeditious manner and no vehicle may remain in a loading zone either for a period of time longer than necessary to expeditiously load or unload the same, or while the operator thereof is soliciting or engaged otherwise than in the loading and unloading of the vehicle; provided, that a reasonable time shall be allowed for giving or securing a delivery receipt.

This only applies to loading zones anyway, but I’m not seeing how anyone could construe it to include a driver parking on the street while eating lunch, or parking on the street for several hours waiting for a delivery site to open.

(B) It shall be unlawful for any operator to stand or park a vehicle in a loading zone for the purpose of loading or unloading passengers for a period in excess of two minutes.

72.17 HOURS FOR LOADING ZONES.

The provisions of § 72.16 shall apply on all days and during all hours, except that the Mayor is authorized to cause to be painted on the curb and/or adjacent street surface of any loading zone the words: “Loading Zone. Reserved  – a.m. to  –  p.m.” and insert therein the numbers indicating the hours so reserved. Such reserved hours shall be in effect only so long as the words and figures indicating the hours of reservation are legible.

72.18 USE OF PARKING SPACES FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING.

It shall be unlawful for any operator of a vehicle to stop or park such vehicle in a parking space for the purpose of loading or unloading merchandise, supplies and materials, except when the place of business where such merchandise is to be loaded or unloaded does not have either a usable entrance from an adjoining alley or an officially designated loading zone on that part of the street adjacent to such place of business, the operator of a vehicle may, without making a deposit in a meter or meters, use not to exceed two parking spaces for loading or unloading at such place of business for the length of time necessary to expeditiously load or unload such merchandise, and give or secure a delivery receipt therefor; but it shall be unlawful for any operator to use more than two parking spaces for such loading or unloading or for a longer period of time than is necessary to expeditiously load or unload such merchandise and give or secure a delivery receipt therefor.

72.19 SPECIAL LOADING ZONES ESTABLISHED.

(A) Loading zones may be established in prohibited parking areas adjacent to businesses situated on either Washington or Graham Street where there are no alleys adequate for loading and unloading goods and merchandise by application of any owner of a business requiring a loading zone for such purposes. The application shall be made to the Chief of Police and the loading zone shall be designated if he/she finds it is necessary for loading and unloading purposes. Should any application be denied by the Chief of Police, the applicant shall have the right to appeal from the ruling of the Chief of Police to the City Council
which shall hear and determine such application. Any zone so designated shall be used only for loading or unloading purposes.

(B) A loading zone is established on the south curb of the 1100 block of West Tarleton Street at its intersection with McIlhaney Street, then east 70 feet.

(C) The west curb of the 100 and 200 blocks of South Paddock Street from West Washington Street to West McNeill Street is hereby declared to be and is hereby designated as a loading and unloading zone from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

(D) The east curb of the 100 and 200 blocks of South Baxter Street, from West Washington Street to West McNeill Street, is hereby declared to be and is hereby designated as a loading and unloading zone from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

These loading zone designations are now 35 years old.  If these sections are to be retained, then it’s probably time to revisit the reasoning for them and determine if any need to be moved, removed, re-marked, expanded or added.

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