Summit County officials are still concerned over the impacts of the semi-truck parking lot being created by the state near the Bell’s station at Silver Creek Junction.
Council member Roger Armstrong reports that UDOT is pretty firm that the lot will be available in the winter, full-time, for truck traffic. He says he doesn’t know if there’s much the county can do about that.
During the comment time in county council’s meeting Wednesday, Armstrong reported on a meeting UDOT had with himself, council chair Kim Carson and county staffers.
“Currently UDOT is proposing to have that truck parking available October to May. We had been pushing for that to be an opening and closing gate depending on storms so that it was just essentially for chain up and not necessarily for continuous truck parking. UDOT is standing pretty firm on the notion of making that full-time parking for trucks not just storms, not just a chain-up area. For a variety of reasons and one of them that was articulated was restrictions on the hours of driving and that truckers needed a place to shelter.”
He said the parking lot raises issues of water quality, services, circulation, safety and lighting. Armstrong said they’re trying to engage with the state on those topics.
“We don’t want something being built that’s perhaps distasteful to people in the community already. On top of that we’ve got carrying costs associated with that we’re not getting funding for. That would include signage, video surveillance, air quality and anti-idling enforcement.”
He said they need to re-look at the county’s anti-idling ordinance—both concerning the county in general and the Silver Creek lot. The law currently calls for three warning for violators, followed by a citation. Armstrong said he doesn’t think there’s much enforcement now.
“I think the ordinance is generally ignored and probably generally not enforced. M y concern when we passed it was that was likely to be the case because we can’t devote scarce sheriff’s department resources to patrolling parking lots it winds up being too difficult. This is going to be that on spades but here we’re going to have diesel trucks parked in an area near home owners. We’ve received complaints that they can smell diesel smells now. We’ve got to work with UDOT to figure out how we’re going to enforce it. I’d like that enforcement to have some teeth and so I think that we need to take a look at the ordinance again. Possibly a separate ordinance for trucks that carries a more significant set of fines associated with it.”
Council member Doug Clyde added he doesn’t think the three-warnings approach is going to work with transient semi-truck drivers. Clyde and Armstrong added that pollution at the Silver Creek site is another problem.
“Topographically you just look at that area realize that it is a local concentration of pollutants.” Armstrong replied “and the winter time is when it’s going to be at its worst so that’s the problem. We’ve got thicker air it’s just a problem.”
Another issue is the movement of trucks around the site.
“Circulation is clearly an issue there already today without any of this. We need to figure out how trucks move through that area especially in close proximity to cars and school busses and bus stops.”
Council member Roger Armstrong added that UDOT has said it’s willing to consider helping out financially with items like signage.