Police in Montgomery County, Md., have an added law-enforcement tool on their belts to help enforce parking restrictions that ban large vehicles from most public roads. Trailers, recreational and commercial vehicles are subject to $75 tickets beginning July 1.
Police outreach, including neon stickers on vehicles illegally parked, community meetings and fliers have been distributed to educate motorists, which the Montgomery County Council passed unanimously Jan. 27, according to the Business Gazette, Gaithersburg, Md.
“It’s not like we’ve shut down the county, we’ve just prohibited some of the places people can park commercial trucks and recreational vehicles,” said county councilman Michael J. Knapp of Germantown.
The county has a population approaching 1 million and is located just north of Washington, D.C.
Recreational vehicles such as campers, motorhomes and boats will be allowed to park on county roads for 18 hours for loading and unloading, said Capt. Thomas Didone, commander of the 5th District police station. Commercial vehicles – a vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds and more than 21 feet long and eight feet high – will be restricted to industrially zoned streets. Motorists can park commercial vehicles if it is being used for work at the time or if it is a bus dropping off or picking up passengers, Didone said.
“We’re going out that day and doing enforcement and we’ll see how many people are actually following the new law,” Didone said.
As long as pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles don’t exceed restrictions, residents won’t be ticketed but should consider “parking those in their driveway,” Didone said.
“If need be, officers will measure trucks and trailers in order to find out if it is in violation,” said police spokeswoman Officer Megan Duffey, who said all officers were issued measuring tapes.
County Council President Philip M. Andrews of Gaithersburg said the law will improve public safety.
“You don’t need an RV or a tractor trailer obstructing the view of a motorist,” Andrews said. “A motorist has to see people crossing the streets and pedestrians need to see cars coming around corners.”
Knapp said he “interacted” with truckers and recreational vehicle owners over the last few years about where they could park and store their vehicles. The Montgomery County Council is “still trying to find a place for additional long-term parking” for large vehicles, Knapp said.
Bob Hydorn, president of the Montgomery Village Foundation, said prospective home buyers are reluctant to buy homes in his community when they see commercial vehicles parked along the streets.
“Commercial vehicles need to be in a commercial area, not a residential one,” Hydorn said. “And if you own a boat or a travel trailer, you should have a place you can rent a spot from to store it in and not leave it on the street.”
Parking for truckers is becoming scarce across the country as new ordinances are adopted, truckstops are closing and housing developments are built, said Norita Taylor, spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association based in Missouri.
“We’ve seen this kind of ordinance pop up in communities across the country,” Taylor said. “A lot of times, a new residential development comes along and the people living there don’t want to see big trucks there.”