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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

TRUCKS—Planned Traffic Study Could Place Limits on Trucks

Valley truck traffic could be relegated to early mornings and late nights, or banned from certain streets altogether, depending on the outcome of a new city study on ways to improve traffic and the condition of city streets. The study, recently approved by the Los Angeles City Council, could revive a nearly 10-year-old plan that would allow truck traffic only during early morning hours and altogether ban trucks weighing more than 4,000 pounds from certain major streets. “We’re not sure how this study is going to affect plans for city streets, but there is a lot of interest in the council for that old traffic plan,” said William White, assistant director of the city’s Bureau of Street Services. White said reducing traffic congestion by restricting truck traffic to certain hours is also a focus of the study. While large trucking firms which serve the Valley, like Roadway and Viking Freight, would not comment for the Business Journal, trucker Aaron Martinez said an outright ban on truck traffic on certain streets would severely impact local businesses. “It’s going to cost them more in time and fuel and they’ll just pass it along to their customers,” he said. Lee Tseng, who runs a grocery store in Panorama City, said any proposal that would alter truck traffic or change work schedules would face stiff opposition from businesses. “I don’t want to open early in the morning for my deliveries. That’s crazy. It’s going to cost more for everybody,” he said. But David Gershwin, an aide to City Councilman Alex Padilla, said the study is part of an effort to improve Valley streets, long overdue for repairs. “We recognize that roads in disrepair cost drivers hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs every year, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to have these roads repaired,” he said. Greg Nelson, a spokesman for City Councilman Joel Wachs, said heavy truck traffic has severely damaged streets and main drags throughout the city. Arlene DeSantis, Wachs’ chief deputy, said the city plans to first collect information on auto and truck traffic before making any recommendations to the City Council. “There are a lot of problem areas in the Valley, like the heavy truck traffic in Sun Valley,” she said. Some of the areas to be examined are those with lots of industrial activity: San Fernando Road, near Paxton Avenue in Sun Valley, Foothill Boulevard in Lakeview Terrace and Glenoaks Boulevard near Terra Bella Street in Pacoima. The proposed study will also focus on other industrial and commercial areas where the impact of truck traffic is greatest. White said trucks tend to concentrate on major streets, resulting in major wear and tear and increased costs of maintaining and upgrading those streets. The traffic study is slated to begin next month and completion is set for July, but no decision on its findings will be made until year’s end. While efforts to revive the old traffic management plan are being considered, city transportation officials say there are no plans to reduce or eliminate truck traffic from any major streets. Among those streets slated for repairs this summer are Laurel Canyon Boulevard, between Van Nuys Boulevard and Paxton Avenue; portions of truck-laden San Fernando Road; and segments of Van Nuys Boulevard, Strathern Street and Osborne Street. Altogether, the city plans to resurface and reconstruct 52.5 miles of streets nearly half in the Valley over the next two years, using $27.2 million in newly-approved state funds for street repairs. The work is in addition to ongoing street resurfacing work, White said. In the long run, White said, traffic management is needed to offset high street repair costs and reduce congestion. Streets throughout the city quickly deteriorate because of heavy traffic use. “Streets throughout the city are getting worse and we can’t keep up the maintenance,” he said. “We’re getting more failed streets every year. The city has 1,000 miles of failed streets where there’s dirt and broken concrete.” Already, the city resurfaces an average of about 260 miles per year of its estimated 6,500 miles of streets, while reconstructing another 90 miles. These efforts are not enough to keep up with ongoing street damage, White said, so the city hopes to reduce the impact of heavy truck traffic on major thoroughfares. Resurfacing for a major street usually costs between $200,000 and $500,000 per mile, while rebuilding a street from scratch costs $300,000 to $1 million per mile, White said. Most major streets are about 22 inches thick, including a 10-inch slab of concrete and 12 inches of asphalt, which allows the weight of vehicles to be spread out over a large area. “One truck is the equivalent of 9,000 passenger vehicles. It’s a tremendous volume of vehicles on major streets when you think about it,” White said. Residential streets are generally four inches thick, and cost about $100,000 per mile to repave, White said.

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