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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

State Funds to Pave Way for Truck Ban

August 02, 2000|ANTONIO OLIVO

BOYLE HEIGHTS — State Sen. Richard Polanco (D-Los Angeles) announced Tuesday that the state will help Los Angeles implement a ban on tractor trailers on North 7th Street by funding improvements to an alternative route to the Golden State Freeway.

Concerns from the trucking industry over a viable alternative have complicated enforcement of a city ordinance passed last month--something that is evident in the constant stream of trucks still rumbling through the neighborhood.

More than 60 diesel trailers lumbered by during the hour it took for Polanco and City Councilman Nick Pacheco to inform residents of the $2 million to be used for widening an onramp near Olympic Boulevard and Lemon Street.

That is because the city has not yet posted signs notifying truck drivers of the ordinance, which carries a fine of at least $200. The signs are due to go up in September.

Questions over where to direct truckers now using the North 7th Street freeway onramp have been a persistent worry, said Pacheco, who hopes to expand the ban against 3-ton trucks to all residential areas of Boyle Heights.

Sliced by the East Los Angeles freeway interchange during the 1960s, the area is home to six schools, several churches and lots of pedestrian traffic.

"This is a really good thing," Pacheco said of the money. It was secured by Polanco during last-minute state budget negotiations last month.

"Hopefully, we'll continue this and remove more trucks from Boyle Heights," Pacheco said.

Polanco called a recent neighborhood movement to solve the diesel problem that has plagued the community for decades "a textbook example of how democracy should work."

The effort involved neighbors posting homemade signs against trucks in their frontyards last winter and urging legislators into action.

The residents were excited Tuesday that another step has been taken toward ridding their block of the loud, smelly trucks. But years of living with the problem has also made them jaded.

"We're happy to see how rapidly this is moving along now," said Margarita Sanchez, 50. "It's only been seven or eight months, right?"

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