UPDATE: Morgantown Council Passes First Reading Of Heavy Truck Traffic Ordinance
Written by Jared Pelletier
Last updated on August 19, 2014 @ 11:41PM
Created on August 19, 2014 @ 7:03PM
It's official. Morgantown City Council has unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance aimed at banning heavy truck traffic downtown. But this is far from over.
Representatives from Safe Streets Morgantown, business owners and people who live in the district were there in support of this ban, Tuesday night. But there were also some business owners who are strongly against it. The heavy truck ban was broken up into two ordinances, and both passed. The first passed unanimously, and the second one passed 6-1. However, there's still no guarantee it will happen. Morgantown's police chief said he will not put officers in harm's way to enforce the ban, and the city government doesn't have the authority to put the necessary signs to prevent heavy truck traffic.
One council member said he would switch his "yes" vote to a "no" vote if they don't fix these stipulations by the time the second reading rolls around.
"There's a question of legality still there. The question of if we have the right to do it or not is still there. Maybe, finally it will go to court and someone will tell us," said Ron Bane, Council Member for the 1st Ward.
Council member Mike Fike was able to pass an amendment to the ordinance tonight, stressing the impact this ordinance will have on the health and safety of pedestrians and motorists. City Manager Jeff Mikorski will undertake a health and safety study to see what the trucks can do to health and well-being. This ban still has many obstacles to overcome--including potential legal battles. We'll learn more as the ordinance progresses to the next reading.
Morgantown City Council could give a controversial proposal the green light on Tuesday.
An ordinance which would ban heavy truck traffic in Morgantown's downtown business district will go through it's first reading at city hall on Wednesday night. Many truck drivers believe they're not affecting anyone, but people who live downtown disagree and want the big rigs gone.
The first reading taking place is required before the proposal could become a law following a second reading if it passes. The proposal was presented by a group called Safe Streets Morgantown which has spoken out loudly against heavy truck traffic in the area. However, plenty of concerns have been brought up by other entities including the Department of Highways.
Most of the roads trucks use downtown are controlled by the state. Recently the DOH wrote to city council members telling them they don't have the jurisdiction to put this type of law in place. That's an idea which is currently being disputed.
A similar ban was in the works during 2006, but it stalled out. The city's mayor feels this is the right time to address the issue.
"We're wanting to move this forward. We're wanting to work with all of the different entities and make this into a win-win situation. This is the first step," said Mayor Jenny Selin.
City officials anticipate a large crowd at Wednesday's meeting.
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