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City may consider truck route changes

Submitted by on 1, November 9, 2009 – 5:50 amNo Comment

23The Planning Board has a full agenda tonight (master tree plan! St. Joe’s!) that includes a staff request for the board’s say-so on whether they should study changing the Island’s truck routes.

The changes that could be considered if the board gives its blessing are turning Broadway into a daytime-only truck route and extending existing routes on Park and Otis streets; extending the Park Street route and designating a shorter stretch of Broadway (Tilden to Encinal) as a daytime-only truck route; and extending the Park Street route so that both the Park Street and Broadway neighborhoods would share the burden of late-night truck traffic.

The burden posed by truck traffic became part of last year’s debate over extending truck hours for businesses at Alameda Towne Centre. Residents on Broadway complained about the noise and soot the trucks created. But city staff said that late-night truck traffic is not prohibited on designated, 24-hour truck routes like Broadway (and that the shopping center was likely not to blame for all the traffic).

A city-commissioned, one-time “snapshot” of late-night and early-morning truck traffic showed no truck traffic on the Broadway route near Otis between midnight and 3 a.m., one truck from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. and four trucks an hour between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. The Otis route saw one truck an hour or less between midnight and 4 a.m., two trucks between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. and three trucks between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.

A separate monitoring effort undertaken by Alameda police found that trucks traveling late at night were generally obeying posted speed limits, a staff report on the potential truck changes says.

City staff said the study should be undertaken if changing the routes can significantly enhance residents’ quality of life, but that the decision process could be an arduous one fraught with controversy, and may not result in any changes. They are waiting for the board to say they wish to consider truck route changes before notifying the hundreds of residents that could be affected.

Planning staff is also recommending the board okay permits for six Towne Centre businesses that would extend their delivery hours. The businesses – Trader Joe’s, Big 5, Petco, Walgreens, Safeway and Panera Bread – are asking to be allowed to take deliveries between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. The current hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Kohl’s is also asking the board to extend its hours for 122 days a year to accommodate holiday and other special sales.

In September 2008, the board voted to allow businesses at the shopping center to stay open until midnight and to allow 24-hour truck deliveries for businesses that are at least 200 feet from residences. But the City Council overturned the decision, saying businesses had to apply individually for extended delivery and operational hours (they allowed Kohl’s to extend their hours for the holidays only, and the center’s restaurants were allowed to remain open until midnight.)

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