Bowing to pressure from angry Los Angeles Avenue-area homeowners, the City Council moved Monday to forbid the parking of big rig trucks in their neighborhood.
Angered that parked semi trucks created an ugly aluminum ridgeline that blotted out the mountain views from their back yards, neighbors of the city's longest thoroughfare asked the council to ban truck parking on East Los Angeles Avenue between Yosemite Avenue and Stearns Street.
Homeowners complained that the noise of revving engines and screeching air brakes continued long after midnight. Idling diesel engines polluted the air in their bedrooms, they said, and the slab-like bulk of parked trailers blocked oncoming traffic from view as they attempted to drive onto Los Angeles Avenue.
"It's created a blind corner at Emory [Avenue] and Los Angeles," said Michael Ballard, a five-year resident of nearby Honeyman Street. "If you try to turn onto Los Angeles, you're on a wing and a prayer.
"This is not only an accident waiting to happen, it is happening," he said, referring to a motorcyclist who slammed into the back of a parked truck trailer three years ago.
Homeowner Randy Campbell complained that recreational vehicles park between the idled rigs for several days. "On occasions, I've looked out my bedroom window and seen a barbecue out there with a big flame coming out of it," he said. "This is on city streets. And my neighbors tell me that they've smelled marijuana from over there."
The council briefly weighed opening a city-owned truck stop, but discarded the plan as costly and impractical.
Instead, the council agreed by consensus that the city should make parking big rigs along that stretch of Los Angeles Avenue illegal and find ways to encourage truckers to park in industrial neighborhoods in the city's west end.
"There are areas out there where they can park," said Councilman Bill Davis. "I don't think it's the city's responsibility to spend taxpayers' dollars to buy property to park trucks on."
Virginia Hausler, the wife of a full-time trucker, said she is wary of parking the family's rig on public street much longer.
"We've had our tires slashed on L.A. Avenue," she said. "Those tires cost $200 apiece. That comes out of our pocket."
Hausler begged the council members--to no avail--to create alternative parking if they banned parking on Los Angeles Avenue.
But Mayor Greg Stratton, before ordering the city attorney to draft a resolution to ban truck parking, said that unless the city draws the line, owners of RVs, boats, airplanes and other large vehicles would also seek special treatment.