Taking some work home with you means different things depending on your job. For Rick Squibb it means parking his semitruck in the street in front of his house on East 30th Avenue in Spokane Valley.
Not all his neighbors are happy with that, and a group of Spokane Valley residents has spurred the city to once again consider a ban on parking semitrucks on residential streets.
“The semitrucks are too heavy for residential streets,” said Cindy Hallet, owner of Hallett’s Market and Café on Sprague. “They do damage to the street and the curbs. They pollute the air. They don’t belong in our residential areas.”
On Oct. 7, the City Council will review staff research about a possible ban during its regular study session.
“The goal is to find a win-win for everyone – that’s always what I want to do,” said Ed Pace, Valley City Council member, “but I don’t think we are anywhere close to that.”
The semitruck parking ban has been brought to the City Council’s attention several times over the past couple of years. Two years ago, a ban on parking refrigerated semitrucks on residential streets was passed.
Nearby cities of Spokane, Millwood and Liberty Lake do not allow semitrucks to park in residential areas.
Squibb said he parks in the street one night a week, and every couple of weeks he parks there for his two days off. Parking in the street allows him to spend more time with his family, he said, and keep an eye on the truck.
“Parking at the truck stop overnight is $20 – I can’t afford to do that,” Squibb said.
He adds that he’s not running a business in the residential area, because the truck is owned by the company he works for. “I just drive it,” he said.
Kathleen Cavender lives in Squibb’s neighborhood and she said big rigs are dangerous in traffic on narrow streets as they are difficult to look around and take up a lot of room.
“We don’t have any sidewalks. It’s not safe to have the big trucks come into our neighborhoods,” Cavender said.
Cavender, Hallet and others have photographed semitrucks parked in many residential neighborhoods in Spokane Valley, including near Evergreen Road and 19th Avenue, Reese Lane and Eighth Avenue and on McDonald Road.
They have shared the information with neighbors and with City Hall.
“Nothing is being done,” said Hallett about the response from City Hall. “They aren’t enforcing their own codes.”
Cavender looks at the semitrucks as “creeping rezoning” gradually allowing more and more commercial activity in residential areas.
“You buy a home in a residential area because you want to avoid this sort of thing,” Cavender said.
Pace said he’s not sure which way he will vote on a potential ban, and that he’s waiting to see how many people will show up in public testimony sessions if the council decides to move ahead and formulate a new ordinance.
“It’s between seven and 10 people who speak about this, out of 92,000 Valley residents,” Pace said. “You could argue this is a really small problem.”
At the same time, he admits he wouldn’t like having a semitruck parked in front of his home, and neither would most of the people he’s talked to.
“Our comprehensive plan states that we want to preserve the character and quality of our neighborhoods,” Pace said. “Allowing large vehicle parking doesn’t preserve the quality of our neighborhoods.”
If the City Council moves forward with the process of creating an ordinance, at least two public hearings will be held at future council meetings, Pace said.
“It’s going to take a while to figure this out,” Pace said.
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