Downed wires, property damage and hazardous turns are just a few reasons why College Park resident Alan Hew said he is worried about large trucks in his neighborhood.
It's a problem that has "plagued" his neighborhood for years, Hew said.
"It's been a very hazardous situation brought on by through traffic of these trucks, and it's not necessary for them to come down through our little neighborhood when you've got US Route 1 right there," Hew said during an Aug. 9 College Park City Council public hearing on the topic.
As a result of the issue, a city ordinance went into effect Tuesday that will allow the council to restrict through-truck traffic "in residential neighborhoods around the city," Mayor Patrick Wojahn said. The council introduced and unanimously adopted the ordinance on Aug. 9.
The ordinance "gives a broad privilege to the individual neighborhoods to take action," by reporting problems to their city council member or the city office, said District 1 Councilman Fazlul Kabir. The council will then introduce resolutions to set parameters on what kind of trucks will be allowed into certain areas, what time the city will allow trucks and what alternate routes are available for the trucks, Kabir added.
Many neighborhoods are not conducive to large trucks passing through, and there have "been some incidents … where big trucks come into the narrow streets by mistake" and have damaged cars parked on the street, Kabir said.
After receiving a complaint from a District 1 resident, Kabir said he and his staff realized there was no way of enforcing a no through-truck traffic policy in areas that needed it because there was "no law in the city code."
"That was the reason our city attorney suggested that the only way the city could enforce [the policy] is by introducing it into the city code," said Kabir, who introduced the ordinance to the council.
City attorney Suellen Ferguson wrote in an email that while the ordinance doesn't impose a restriction, it "sets up the process for the council to regulate through-truck traffic in certain parts of the city."
The next step will be "defining [the ordinance] based on individual district's needs," beginning as soon as September, Kabir said.
Before passing the ordinance, some residents and council members voiced concern over the meaning of the word "truck."
Maryland defines a truck as "a motor vehicle, except a multipurpose passenger vehicle, that is designed, used, or maintained primarily to carry property," according to the state's General Assembly website.
However, the type of truck allowed through a residential area is going to be decided "on a case by case basis," and "leaves the council the flexibility to more or less restrictive," meaning no one should worry that their pickup truck will be kept out of their neighborhood due to this ordinance, Wojahn said.