By Craig Clough, September 23, 2013
The Crescenta Valley Town Council voted Thursday to recommend that big rigs be banned from parking in the unincorporated areas of La Crescenta-Montrose at all times, a response to growing complaints from the community that the vehicles were an eyesore and nuisance.
The recommendation will be sent to the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, which is currently drafting an ordinance to ban or restrict big rig parking in the area. The ordinance is scheduled to be voted on by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 26.
The nearby communities of La Canada Flintridge, Altadena, Glendale, Los Angeles and others all have strict limitations on big rig parking, but La Crescenta-Montrose does not, which is why it is a common site to see them parked on bridges along 210 Freeway in the area.
Several members of the Town Council, which met at the La Crescenta Library, voiced a number of concerns about the big rigs, including that they are an eyesore, they create a danger, and that on the Ramsdall Avenue bridge they are taking away crucial parking that students need for nearby Crescenta Valley High School.
“The concern that I have, for myself and my constituents, is it’s only a couple of trucks being parked,” Councilmember Harry Leon said. “And it’s not only an eyesore, it’s a hazard waiting to happen. Not only that, if the  Freeway comes through, we’re going to have a parking lot on our hands.”
Leon also complained that there are signs on Foothill Boulevard that limit big rig parking to certain times, but that the truckers ignore the signs and park there for days.
“They come and park it right underneath the sign,” said Leon, who added that he thought the vehicles were likely to block driver’s views on Foothill and lead to an accident.
The language of the ordinance is based on a similar one that Altadena has, but which restricted big rig parking from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Although the Town Council voted to recommend restricting big parking at all times unless they are performing a service in the immediate area, it did leave open a window to allow parking from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. if the Board of Supervisors found a legal reason it could not restrict it at all times.
David Oboza of the Traffic and Safety Division gave a presentation to the council before the vote and recommended restricting parking from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., which would allow the truckers to sleep overnight. But several members weren’t buying the argument that the truckers are sleeping in their rigs because it appears to be the same few trucks always parked on the bridges for days at a time, suggesting the truckers live nearby.
Oboza said the department wanted to have a concurrence with the town council on what hours to limit parking to. No one on the council or in the audience spoke in favor of allowing unlimited parking for big rigs, but Oboza did deliver a message from a trucker he said he had spoken to on the phone.
“He has some concerns. His name is Mike. He said that the truckers provided an invaluable service to the community,” Oboza said. “While he does not support a driver leaving a truck parked for two or three days at a time, he would like the truck drivers to be able to park and sleep overnight, so they can get some sleep and move on.”
After several different restriction times were proposed, Corresponding Secretary Robbyn Battles made the case for a 24-hour ban after California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Miller explained that Altadena had an additional ordinance that limited the weight of vehicles to the point that no big rigs can now be parked at any time in Altadena.
“We’re not talking about your average trucker and he needs to stop and get some sleep. I think the argument that they need to stop and get sleep, I think that’s a moot issue or that this is not what this is about,” Battles said. “This is about people that just want to park their trucks because for one reason or another, it’s more convenient for them. And it destroys our neighborhoods and it has a safety effect and it has an issue with the school.”
What do you think about big rigs parking in La Crescenta-Montrose? Do you think they should be banned? Tell us in the comments.