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A bill to force truckers to stay away from Delaware residential parking or pay skyrocketing fines up to $2,000 awaits action by Gov. John Carney after it sailed through state General Assembly largely unopposed.
“With the more warehouses being built we’re going to have more traffic with these trucks, but we want them to be respectful and, in turn, we can be respectful as well,” Sen. Nicole Poore (D) said while advocating House Bill 479 during a Senate Transportation Committee meeting June 28.
She described how the legislation would change the state parking code by drastically hiking minimum and maximum penalties for violating parking restrictions in residential districts. Today’s parking fines of $10 to $25 would soar from $100 to $500.
A first violation of weight and size parking restrictions could climb from no less than $100 (from $28.75) up to $500 (above the current maximum of $230).
Subsequent parking violations would shoot up to $400 to $2,000 compared with today’s range of $115 to $575.
“We don’t want to stop commerce, but we want our e-commerce truck drivers to be good stewards of our state and also to our neighbors,” said Poore, a cosponsor of the bill. “We are facing a rising challenge regarding the prevalence of tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks in and around our residential neighborhoods, in particular north of the canal. It’s been really, really tough, and so we have corridors that people have been parking themselves and taking up quite a bit of the road.”
She said truck parking along state Route 9 and U.S. Route 13 is generating calls from residents, who “reported tractor-trailers in main roads in neighborhoods that block their views as they travel out of their communities” while causing damage to roads from the weight of heavy trucks.
Another feature of the bill is that it would allow the Delaware Department of Transportation to only place signs restricting or prohibiting truck and semitrailer parking, stopping or standing only at the beginning of a roadway instead of at each prohibited/restricted location. Also, law enforcement agencies throughout the state would be given lists of prohibited truck parking sections as well as allowed parking areas to give to truckers.
A General Assembly spokesperson said the legislation was awaiting action by the governor, whose office had not yet retrieved the bill for signature. While Delaware has no deadline for the governor to retrieve the legislation, once he does he must act within 10 days excluding Sundays.
“Staff from the governor’s office usually reach out to the chief clerk of the House for House bills and secretary of the Senate for Senate bills, and request the legislation for the governor to sign,” the spokesperson told Transport Topics. “At the point of pick up, the 10-day countdown begins, and we are notified. If the governor has failed to act on presented legislation within 10 days, the legislation will go into effect.”
Although the main sponsor of HB 479 was Rep. Valerie Longhurst, the legislation attracted strong support evidenced by the following cosponsors: Sens. Spiros Mantzavinos, Marie Pinkney and Bryan Townsend as well as Reps. William Bush, Sherae’a Moore, Paul Baumbach, Kendra Johnson, Edward Osienski, Michael Ramone, Daniel Short and Madinah Wilson-Anton. Ramone and Short were the only Republican backers of the bill.
It passed unopposed in the Senate on June 28 with 21 votes and cleared the House as there was only one dissent vote against 40 on June 21.
Nicole Majeski, DelDOT secretary, thanked Poore during the hearing for working with the agency to craft the proposed new law and spoke about receiving daily phone calls “from legislators up and down the state” with complaints about “trucks that are parking along the side of the major roadways and in residential areas.”
With 12 truck parking locations (two public rest areas and 10 private truck stops) offering 337 truck parking spaces, DelDOT acknowledged the state had insufficient parking in a Sept. 20, 2021, final report on the topic. The report noted the state has opportunities to increase truck parking through locations-specific projects and statewide policies and programs.
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