Los Angeles should ask that trucks be banned from the Ventura Freeway during rush hour while a widening project is under way, a City Council committee said Wednesday.
But the Transportation and Traffic Committee acknowledged that such a ban is a long shot. It said its secondary recommendation is that the city lift restrictions on early-morning and late-night deliveries to encourage truckers to avoid the freeway during peak commuting hours.
The full council is scheduled to consider the recommendations this week.
The committee, in voting to seek federal and state approval for a truck ban, overrode the recommendations of a city task force that advocated voluntary traffic-reduction measures.
Approval Hard to Obtain
The task force--made up of transportation officials and representatives of the trucking industry, local homeowner groups and major businesses served by trucks--said it would be difficult to obtain the required approval of the California Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration for a truck ban because no "clearly acceptable" alternate route is available.
But committee members Marvin Braude and Michael Woo argued that the city should be able to ban trucks from the freeway during rush hour if necessary.
"This is a major crisis," Braude said, referring to the traffic jam expected from the freeway project. "And not to be prepared for it seems foolhardy."
"I recognize the fact that the truck industry will be inconvenienced," Braude added. "I recognize that some local streets will be imposed upon. But I'm willing to inconvenience a few people to benefit thousands."
2% to 3% of Traffic
A major expansion of the Ventura Freeway from Calabasas to the Hollywood Freeway is scheduled to begin next month. Trucks account for 2% to 3% of the traffic on the Ventura Freeway in the West San Fernando Valley during rush hour, from 6:30 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m., according to Caltrans.
"There are alternate routes," Thomas Conner, a city engineer who chaired the task force, said in an interview after the committee meeting. "It's arguable whether they would be acceptable."
According to the task force, the only alternative route north of the San Fernando Valley is the Simi Valley Freeway, which turns into a two-lane residential street in Moorpark. The task force also rejected shifting large trucks to already congested surface streets parallel to the Ventura Freeway. None of the east-west streets extends west of Valley Circle Boulevard.
Woo, a prime proponent of the truck ban, said after the meeting that he will meet with others on the council who favor the measure to try to come up with an alternative route that could win federal and state approval.
The committee, meanwhile, approved the task force's recommendation to relax a noise-control ordinance that prohibits loading and unloading of vehicles within 200 feet of a residence between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Enforcement of the ordinance was suspended during the 1984 Olympics, a move credited with helping bring about smooth-flowing freeways during the Summer Games.
Under the proposal, truckers would be allowed to make deliveries an hour earlier, starting at 6 a.m., and an hour later, to 11 p.m., subject to receiving a permit from the Police Department. Permits would not be issued for noisy operations, such as trash pickup, under the committee recommendation.
Expanded delivery hours would be limited to an area bounded by Ventura and Victory boulevards, the San Diego Freeway and the western city limits.