Commuters in some parts of Los Angeles figure to gain a little break under a plan unveiled Wednesday to keep the curb lanes free of delivery trucks during rush hours.
The answer is simple--just move the trucks off the street and into nearby parking lots. But it has taken years to bring off, requiring the clout of Mayor Tom Bradley's office and the threat of towing to win over truck operators and parking lot owners.
By far the biggest impact will be downtown, where stopping at the curb to make deliveries on the narrow streets has been illegal during rush hour for many years. But couriers wishing to drop off a package and other delivery drivers have often flouted the laws, clogging traffic by forcing commuters to squeeze around the trucks.
Rush hour congestion has become a major problem in many areas of the city, and the plan to remove trucks will also target some of those other trouble spots--Wilshire Boulevard in the mid-Wilshire area, 6th Street from downtown to Alvarado Street, Brooklyn Avenue in Boyle Heights and Ventura Boulevard in Encino.
Trucks No Longer Barred
Truck drivers have complained that they are forced to stop at the curb, since most parking lots bar oversize vans and trucks and the delivery businesses need to guarantee customers pickup and delivery during rush hours. But Bradley Wednesday said truck drivers will no longer have the excuse that they were barred from parking lots.
The Parking Assn. of California, which represents most private lots in Los Angeles, has agreed after negotiations to open its parking spaces to delivery vans during the peak traffic hours, Bradley said.
In the next few weeks the city will post new signs in curb-side loading areas, reminding delivery drivers that stopping is banned at rush hour.
"This agreement leaves no excuses for parking curbside at rush hour and we can assure violators that they will be towed," Bradley said.
Will Become Fair Game
City-hired tow trucks swoop down regularly on cars parked illegally during rush hours, but the city has been reluctant to crack down on the delivery trucks. Under the mayor's plan, which will take a few weeks to begin, the delivery trucks will become fair game for the towing sweeps, a Bradley aide said.
In addition to parking lot operators, the plan has won support from two of the largest delivery firms using downtown streets--United Parcel Service and Federal Express--and from groups representing other delivery companies.
New development has slowed rush-hour traffic downtown to its most sluggish pace since the 1920s, when cars and trucks had to share the streets with trolleys and an occasional horse-powered wagon.
But the crunch has been particularly troublesome since construction began on the Metro Rail subway.