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SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio is considering whether to tell semi-truck drivers to “keep on trucking” right off city streets if they want to park overnight.
But the owners of a local trucking yard warn that could exacerbate a different problem.
State law and local ordinances already restrict parking in residential areas. It’s a Class C misdemeanor to park in residential subdivisions between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and San Antonio prohibits parking the trucks in a home’s front yard or on the curb of a residential property.
The trucks can still park legally on other non-residential streets, which can still draw the ire of people living nearby.
Beckwith Boulevard, for example, shoots straight off the I-10 frontage road on the North Side and had a half dozen trucks parked on the curb when INC visited Wednesday morning.
John Wood, the board president of the Oakland Heights Owners Association, said there are typically even more.
“Someone usually comes and picks them up, or they have Uber come pick them up, and they go somewhere else,” he said. “So these people are not local to this immediate area. They’re just utilizing the space to park.”
Wood said the road isn’t meant for so many trucks. With a fire station on the street and a middle school around the corner, he also worries about safety issues with visibility and accessibility.
Though parking on the street is legal, Wood said Councilman Manny Pelaez’s office has helped with a workaround by contacting the nearby businesses to help get them to restrict parking along their portion of the street. With their support, Wood said, signs have been installed to prohibit all parking between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., though not everywhere.
“It’s a piecemeal process because each individual business has to be able to give up the parking in front of their own business just to get rid of the 18-wheelers,” Wood said.
The city council will consider a new ordinance at the urging of Pelaez, who submitted a council consideration request (CCR) in May 2022. The ordinance will prohibit parking along all non-residential city streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m..
The proposal was presented to the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday by San Antonio Police Department Assistant Chief Robert Blanton, who noted that Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth have more parking restrictions than San Antonio or Austin.
The committee voted to move the item forward to the full city council at a future meeting. It was not immediately clear when that would be.
Blanton said SAPD had not talked to any truckers or associations representing them about the proposal, though Deputy City Manager Maria Villagomez said city staff would before the issue goes before the full council.
Wood told INC he supports the idea.
“There are multiple businesses that offer parking for truckers right here. So there are options for them, but the street shouldn’t be one of them,” he said.
However, Beatriz Foster, whose family owns such a business on Potranco Road, said it’s not quite that simple.
Parking at a yard like the one her family runs, she said, costs only $100 to $200 per month. But their yard has a waitlist of more than 50 trucks long, and the other yards they know of have waitlists, too.
“There just isn’t enough truck yards to park all of the trucks in the city of San Antonio, much less the ones that are hauling across the nation,” Foster said.
She pointed to a 2020 Texas Department of Transportation study of the statewide shortage of truck parking, which states, “When truck drivers are tired or reach the limit of how long they can legally drive without having found an appropriate parking location, they must choose whether to park illegally or drive illegally.”
If the city wants to move forward with this idea, Foster said, it needs to help the drivers, too.
“The products don’t just appear in your kitchen or your house. A truck driver brought those things to your home, to your city,” she said. “So all we’re asking is that they help truck drivers solve the problem of finding where to park.”
Editorial note: Foster is related by marriage to a INC producer.
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