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New security measures coupled with police enforcement have proven effective in curbing illegal freight truck parking and theft of shopping carts at a grocery store in Pearsall.
Police Chief Daniel Flores said officers focused patrol along IH-35 and the east side access road that runs adjacent to the HEB grocery store during one weekend in June and enforced the no-parking ordinance passed by councilors in 2017.
“Since council approved that ordinance, we were able to enforce it,” the chief said in a Tuesday, July 11, meeting. “In that one weekend we issued thirty-two tickets.”
Councilors passed an ordinance in November 2017 that they believed would enhance motorists’ and pedestrians’ safety and help reduce incidents of trash dumping near IH-35.
The ordinance was prompted after Texas Department of Transportation representatives voiced concerns over pedestrians being struck by motorists 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 store.
Public Works Director Hector Gandara said in December 2022 that freight trucks were gouging the soil at the edge of the road.
“At one point there was a divot so deep you could fit a Volkswagen in there,” Gandara said. “There is a seven-foot divot there and it is like ten thousand dollars to fix.”
The grocery store installed locking wheel mechanisms on its shopping carts this spring and posted signs on poles in the parking lot and by the entry door notifying customers of the new asset protection technology.
“I talked to HEB, it was a huge safety concern to them and they spent a lot of money putting locks on the carts,” Mayor Ben Briscoe said. “Now, with the police department enforcing, I was told only one trucker called asking where to park.”