5 NEWS UPDATE: Morgantown Council Passes Amended Heavy Truck Ordinance
Written by Alex Wiederspiel
Last updated on September 02, 2014 @ 11:54PM
Created on September 02, 2014 @ 6:11PM
UPDATE: Tuesday, September 2, 9:30 p.m.
In three months, heavy trucks will no longer be allowed within Morgantown city limits. This after city council members passed an amended ordinance, Tuesday, that was originally proposed by the advocacy group Safe Streets Morgantown.
Before passing the ordinance at Tuesday's meeting, council members voted to make two amendments to it. The first change came in response to concerns from police and the prosecuting attorney about the definition of a heavy truck. Council members agreed to remove the wording of "three or more axles" and make it "commercial motor vehicles registered as class 7 or greater rating." That's because it's more consistent with the 26,000 pound limit and will be easier for police to enforce.
Then they changed the proposed ordinance to say that if passed, it would go into effect in 90 days. That would allow time for changes such as posting signs. One council member voted down that amendment because they wanted it to go into effect sooner.
"We're very grateful to city council for considering the ordinance so carefully and for passing it because we think it's very important for the city of Morgantown," said Evan Hansen, Safe Streets Morgantown and business owner.
"We're having an increasing population in this town, so we have to keep it safe for all the pedestrians and for all the other cars on the street. But the good news about this is that there are alternate routes," said Nancy Ganz, council member.
In the end, after both amendments passed, the ordinance also passed. This means that trucks not making deliveries to the immediate downtown area will be rerouted.
ORIGINAL: Tuesday, September 2, 6 p.m.
After months of debate, the controversial Morgantown Heavy Truck Ordinance to regulate truck traffic will come before the Morgantown City Council for a second, pivotal reading tonight.
It's been hotly debated by downtown business owners, citizens, delegates, council members, and others. Tuesday night, the city get's the chance to pass an ordinance that's been years in-the-making. But passing it is one thing. Enforcing it may be another issue altogether.
The ordinance was proposed earlier this summer by the advocacy group Safe Streets Morgantown. They've found support in the House of Delegates, City Council, and some vocal downtown business owners. They hope that heavy truck traffic not explicitly making deliveries to the Downtown Business District will be rerouted to Greenbag Road. While this ordinance has drawn a lot of scrutiny on both sides, Safe Streets Morgantown does believe that the law is enforceable.
"Traffic is important, and it's important to note the State Code specifically allows municipalities to regulate traffic on state roads," said Evan Hansen of Safe Streets Morgantown.
The Department of Highways previously sent a letter to City Manager Jeff Mikorski last month stating that they don't believe that Morgantown City Council has the authority to pass or enforce such an ordinance.
"...any regulatory authority that the city may have over the local roads within its jurisdiction may also be subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Highways. In this specific factual instance, the Division of Highways maintains proper jurisdiction over the roadways at issue."
Tuesday night's Morgantown City Council meeting starts at 7 and is open to the public.
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