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Parking ban revs up truck drivers

April 25, 1997

By DAVE McMILLION

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A proposed city law that would prohibit the parking of tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks on residential streets is drawing some sour reactions.

Martinsburg City Council member Glenville Twigg said the council is considering the ban because of complaints that trucks park too close to intersections, making it hard to see traffic.

Other complaints are aesthetic, Twigg said. "They just don't want to look at it," he said.

The ban would apply to trucks with more than a two-ton capacity and campers, Twigg said. The ban would not apply to any large vehicles parked in private driveways or parking lots, Twigg said.

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Some truck owners are not happy with the proposed ban.

"I think they ought to mind their own business," said Walter McGowan, who keeps an International school bus parked near the intersection of Strine Avenue and Third Street.

McGowan has converted the bus into a camper for fishing trips to the Great Lakes and other places. He said he has tried to be considerate of his neighbors by parking the bus at an open lot instead of in front of their houses.

McGowan's son, Glen, said there's no reason why large vehicles can't be parked on residential streets if they're properly licensed and registered. If people don't like trucks in their neighborhood, they should move somewhere else, he said.

"I don't believe it's right, myself," he said of the proposed ban.

Una Taylor, who owns Taylor's Caribbean Market on High Street, said there's no other place to park her husband's commercial truck after business hours because they live above the business.

"Where in the world is he going to put the truck? Some people are just contentious," Taylor said.

A school bus driver who lives around the corner from Taylor said she has been parking her bus in front of her house for 16 years. "Board of Education told me to park there, I'm sorry," the woman said.

Twigg said he did not believe the law would apply to school buses that have not been converted.

Officials said the law is not unique.

Other cities have passed similar laws, sometimes even going so far as to ban trucks on all streets, Twigg said.

Martinsburg's ban would only apply to residential streets, which make up about 75 percent of the city's street system, officials said. The downtown business district, which includes streets like King and Queen Streets, would not be affected, according to Twigg.

Martinsburg Police Chief Wayne Cleveland said he sometimes believes there are too many regulations in life, but not in this case. "I don't think it's an unreasonable ordinance," Cleveland said.

Any new ordinance must be read three times. The council passed two readings of the ordinance, and the third reading is expected at the next council meeting on May 8, Twigg said.

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