Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Port Takes Steps to Reduce Pollution with Freight Truck Management Plan

Continuing Effort to Cut Airborne Emissions
Shipping News Feature
US – There are few places in the world that take the threat of airborne pollution more seriously than California, probably more than ever now as the death toll from the horrendous forest fires which have swept the state rises, and plumes of smoke still cover the landscape. As to industry, in the vanguard for change has been the state's port sector which has habitually led the drive toward cleaner air with both Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach both striving to cut vehicle and ship emissions to a minimum.

The Port of Oakland has also consistently looked to improve its environmental profile and now Port and City officials are circulating a draft plan to reduce the impact of freight trucks on local streets. Called the West Oakland Truck Management Plan, it’s intended to improve the quality of life for the area’s residents.

The plan’s truck management strategies concentrate on West Oakland since that residential neighbourhood is closest to the Port. Big rigs stream into the Port daily to pick up or drop off cargo containers. As the City develops adjacent property at the former Oakland Army Base, additional trucks will be driving into the area.

Among the plan’s objectives are the reduction of disruption to residents and businesses currently caused by truck traffic and truck parking, increased safety in and around designated zones and ensuring truckers know both preferred routes to reach their destinations and the City’s parking restrictions.

The Truck Management Plan addresses trucks driving on streets not designated as Truck Routes. It also looks at trucks parking in residential areas. The plan would steer trucks away from residential areas with the help of new, more prominent signage for Truck Routes and preferred delivery routes for truck-oriented businesses in West Oakland. Safety measures at street intersections near the Port could include high-visibility crosswalks, improved signage and pedestrian safety zones.

The plan would also propose changes in parking regulations. City staff would be responsible for enforcing truck regulations, according to the plan. Steps would include refresher courses in how to write parking citations for trucks and trailers. The City could also consider hiking fines for truck parking violations.

The Port and City conducted four workshops as part of an extensive public outreach to help craft the 38-page plan. The plan is available for review at Port and City offices as well as some libraries. Public comments on the plan are being accepted until 4 January 2019. Implementation of the truck management strategies would begin immediately after adoption, said the plan’s authors. The complete rollout is expected to take five years. Port Environmental Planner Andrea Gardner, commented:

“We’ve listened intently to community concerns about truck traffic in Oakland. And the community has helped us develop a plan that will make life measurably better for our residential neighbours.”