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Truck routes within city limits clearly defined

There should be no confusion now for truck drivers piloting their large vehicles through the streets of Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside City Council Monday night approved a new ordinance that designates specific truck routes within the city while outlining where such vehicles may be parked when they are not operational.

"The existing city ordinance, I guess, you would call it confusing at best," said Assistant City Manager/City Attorney Mark Kunkler of one of the reasons why the new ordinance was proposed.

The ordinance approved by Council outlines how no one shall operate or park a restricted vehicle upon city streets, rights-of-way, alleys, sidewalks or other public property unless it is a designated truck route. The ordinance, says Kunkler, defines a restricted vehicle as a vehicle consisting of a tractor trailer, semi tractor or truck, logging truck, pole trailer or any vehicle exceeding set weight limitations.

The weight restrictions for vehicles targeted in this ordinance is any motor vehicle with a gross weight exceeding 12,000 pounds or any motor vehicle having three or more axles with a gross weight in excess of 12,000 pounds. The ordinance also applies to any motor vehicle, trailer, pole trailer, truck, tractor, truck tractor, road tractor, bus or semi trailer used in combination exceeding 26,000 pounds combined gross weight.

Kunkler said the ordinance was drafted after city staff received numerous complaints about trucks.

"We as staff have received a fair number of complaints," reaffirmed Kunkler. "It creates a disturbance for the neighbors."

The ordinance does allow for temporary parking of trucks on streets or rights-of-way for the purpose of delivering a product. The ordinance also allows for the temporary parking of trucks that are performing public/franchise work.

The new ordinance also outlines specific truck routes within the city.

One of the truck routes begins at Yakima Valley Highway, intersects with First Street, then goes south on First Street to Zillah Avenue, traveling southeast on Zillah Avenue to the Edison Avenue intersection and then east on Edison to Fifth Street before going south on Fifth to Harrison Avenue. The route then travels west on Harrison to South Fourth Street, turning south on South Fourth Street to Lincoln Avenue, going west along Lincoln Avenue to South First Street and then south along South First Street to the city limits.

Other truck routes in the city include all of Yakima Valley Highway, as well as from Lincoln Avenue/Factory Road from First Street to the easterly city limits.

The ordinance does allow for the city manager to designate temporary alternate truck routes.

Violators of the ordinance face up to a $500 penalty per each violation.

Kunkler clarified for Council that the Sunnyside Police Department and Code Enforcement Officer Bill Eikenbary will be in charge of enforcing the ordinance.

Councilman Don Vlieger voiced concerns on why the city chose the routes it did for trucks, indicating they shouldn't be allowed in the heart of the city. He also suggested the city add an additional fine for any trucker who violates weight requirements. Vlieger said residents pay for the city roads and the trucks are tearing them up.

City Manager Bob Stockwell said the new ordinance provides specific boundaries truckers have to stay within while in the city.

Councilman Bruce Ricks suggested changing one of the routes, the one along Fourth Street to Sixth Street. Ricks said Sixth Street is a safe route for truck drivers to use. He added Sixth Street would be safe for pedestrians also because of the stop lights.

Stockwell said staff will provide Council with a report on why the routes were chosen and possibly look at implementing Sixth Street as a truck route at a future Council meeting.

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