EPHRATA – Tractor-trailers may need to leave Ephrata's residential streets.
The Ephrata City Council agreed to look into prohibiting tractor-trailers from parking on residential streets after a resident complained about a neighbor leaving a truck on her street.
Presently city code allows the trucks to park on the residential streets as long as they're moved within 72 hours.
“Part of the enforcement issue is it's not a one-time sweep. (The police) have to mark it, and then come back and check it and literally, if it's rolled around the block and parked several feet (over), they have complied with the terms of the law,” City Administrator Wes Crago said.
Bonnie Clark, an F Street Northwest resident, told the council she was frustrated no ordinance existed to protect her from semis parking on the side of the street.
“They're not a motor home or a trailer. I can deal with a motor home and a trailer being there from one to three to five days up to seven days being parked in front of the house,” she said.
She said the truck took up the middle section of her block, blocking her view from the house. It also makes it hard for her neighbor to back his motor home into his driveway, and creates a blind spot for children walking on the road.
“It's the most depressing thing to get up in the morning and pull my blinds on my corner window, and there's that Mayflower semi looking at me,” Clark said. “I come out of my driveway, which is on Division (Avenue) and I can't see until I'm into the intersection.”
She could understand leaving the truck on the street for a day as long as it wasn't for one day every other day, she said.
Councilmember William Coe sympathized with Clark, saying he wanted to see more enforcement of parking ordinances.
“Maybe once or twice a year, depending on the manpower, we do a sweep of the city,” he said. “I don't think that would take a whole lot of manpower.”
Coe felt the patrols would increase the awareness of the law, even if the officers didn't return to check on the vehicles.
“They do that,” Crago said. “We have a warning sticker.”
Police Chief Mike Warren said officers try to notify vehicle owners about the law on a regular basis. Several of the officers have written quite a number of parking tickets, but the ordinance simply requires people to move the vehicle 5 feet.
Coe suggested a ban on semis parking on residential streets.
“If it's a flat out ban that's very easy to enforce,” Crago said. “Then there is no question about how long it sat there or not.”
Councilmember Stephanie Knitter understood no one wanted to have a semi blocking their view, but she pointed out the tractor-trailer was the person's livelihood.