Big trucks, like 18-wheelers, will soon have to find a different path as they move freight throughout Houston. City officials voted Wednesday to create a citywide truck route plan that should make things quieter in some neighborhoods.
The plan will address the increased truck traffic that city officials said continues to increase in residential neighborhoods. The city will designate certain roads as truck routes, preventing big trucks with three or more axles or weighing more than 26,000 pounds from driving on smaller streets, with the exception of deliveries being performed.
“This is an excellent start and it’s addressing the concerns of many people in various neighborhoods throughout the city,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
The city’s planning and development department presented the plan during the city’s November 9, Quality of Life Committee meeting. The city’s Planner Manager Muxian Fang said during the meeting, that the route would be separated into three categories: through truck routes, local truck routes, and through truck streets. Drivers could face fines if the designated routes are not followed.
Residents have spoken out on how big trucks are becoming a burden in their neighborhoods. Tuesday’s public session was filled with residents, like Patricia Ridley, who has lived in the Settegast neighborhood in Northeast Houston for 60 years.
“They’re (the trucks) coming into the neighborhood, this is a residential area, they are waking me up at 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning, turning in my yard,” she said. “I can’t sleep at night, I am tired. I am 71 years of age and I should be able to enjoy retirement.”
A pilot program will be tested in the Settegast neighborhood in Northeast Houston in the spring, due to the excessive amount of trucks that travel through the community. Some residents are suggesting community input be included as the city begins drafting the route.
“Our ask would be that we sit at the table with the planning department in regards to the criteria for the truck route,” said Vicky Martin. “The Settegast area is residential, there’s no zoning, there’s no deed restrictions, but Clairmont Place is deed restricted.”
Tarsha Jackson, who represents the area, said the community will not be left out of the conversation.
“This has been a priority of mine,” she said. “I’ve heard it over and over again from the community about 18-wheelers coming through the neighborhoods throughout District B.”
Most of the council members agreed it is an issue throughout all their districts. A permanent plan is expected to expand citywide by next summer.