A Los Angeles city ordinance prohibiting night-time deliveries in residential areas should be lifted while the Ventura Freeway is being widened to encourage trucks to avoid the freeway during peak commuting hours, a city study group decided Monday.
The study committee, created by the City Council, decided to recommend relaxation of the night-time noise law instead of a ban on trucks during rush hour that was proposed in June by City Councilmen Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Woo.
However, the two San Fernando Valley councilmen have indicated they plan to continue pushing for an outright ban.
The committee's report is expected to go to the council's Transportation and Traffic Committee in about a month. Lifting the ban would have to be approved by the City Council.
In December or January, the California Department of Transportation is scheduled to begin a major expansion of the Ventura Freeway from Calabasas to the Hollywood Freeway.
Freeway congestion is expected to worsen while a new lane is being added in each direction over the next 3 1/2 years.
Trucks account for about 7% of the 270,000 vehicles that travel the Ventura Freeway each day in the West Valley, Caltrans planners say.
Committee chairman Thomas Conner, a principal transportation engineer with the city Department of Transportation, said a ban would be "preferable to voluntary compliance, but it would be difficult to get the federal government to go along."
City and Caltrans officials say they are discouraged by a federal requirement that an alternate route be designated whenever trucks are barred from any highway built with federal funds.
Yaroslavsky was not available for comment Monday, but his press secretary, Michelle Krotinger, said the councilman "has contacted federal highway officials and feels there is a willingness to accept a mandatory ban. He remains committed to pushing for one."
Woo also was unavailable, but in an interview several weeks ago when it became clear that the study group would shy away from an outright ban, he said, "I am not discouraged. I intend to pursue this."
The study committee proposal would temporarily lift enforcement of a city ordinance that bans loading or unloading of vehicles within 200 feet of a residence between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. Enforcement of the ordinance also was suspended during the 1984 Olympic Games, a move credited with helping bring about smooth-flowing freeways during the Olympics.
Representatives of major grocery chains--including Ralphs, Vons and Alpha Beta--said their trucks could avoid the freeway during rush hours only if allowed to deliver at night.
But a representative of the California Trucking Assn., whose members deliver to small businesses, said it would be difficult for member firms to avoid the freeway during peak commuting hours even if the night-time noise law is lifted.