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“SO BIG YOU COULD FIT A VOLKSWAGEN IN IT,”
Pearsall City Councilors voted unanimously to place no-parking signs in two areas of the city allowing law enforcement officers to enforce a 2017 ordinance.
In November 2017 councilors passed an ordinance they believed would enhance motorists’ and pedestrians’ safety and help reduce incidents of trash dumping near IH-35.
“This basically gives no parking zones along Colorado from Ash to Walnut streets,” City Manager Federico Reyes said during a Tuesday, December 13 meeting. “Also north lanes of Interstate 35 from south FM 1581 and the confluence with IH-35. Council has not enforced it; but it gives the police department authority to enforce it if we put no parking signs.”
Section 42-4 of the Municipal Code, states that the city council shall, from time to time, designate the location of no parking zones, as permitted under state law and authorize the erection of applicable signs.
The 2017 ordinance was prompted after Texas Department of Transportation representatives voiced concerns over pedestrians being struck by motorists on Colorado Street outside of the Pearsall Post Office and after former City Manager Charles Jackson reported that freight truck drivers had been ignoring parking restrictions along the IH-35 access road near the HEB grocery story.
The same concerns are still raised today.
“This was me,” Mayor Ben Briscoe said. “Especially those truckers who park by the bridge, someone is going to get hurt. This gives us some teeth, and we do have the authority to place signs.
Briscoe noted that HEB does not allow freight truck drivers to park in its parking lot.
“But they park there [along IH 35],” the mayor said. “I am surprised that DPS does not do anything about it.”
According to Pearsall Police Captain Michael Guerrero, the department has received several calls about the freight trucks being parked along the interstate from state troopers and TxDOT representatives.
“They cannot enforce it unless there are signs out there,” Guerrero said.
Public Works Director Hector Gandara said that from his perspective the main problem the freight truck drivers are creating is the divots.
“At one point there was a divot so deep you could fit a Volkswagon bug in there,” Gandara said. “There is a seven-foot divot there and it is like ten thousand dollars to fix.”
After the 2017 ordinance was passed, city workers placed no-parking signs along Colorado Street in front of the post office and along the access road of IH-35.
“We just have not enforced it,” Reyes said.