With a narrow road and construction in downtown Greenwood, semis pose a hazard to drivers on Main Street, and now city officials are looking to restrict where the large trucks can drive.
Signs telling trucks to stay off Main Street were put up several years back, but there’s a problem: Greenwood doesn’t have rules to address where trucks aren’t allowed to drive in the city, city council member Linda Gibson said.
“It is something we thought we had in place that we didn’t have in place,” she said.
Gibson has proposed a new rule to limit truck traffic on Main Street from Emerson Avenue to U.S. 31, which would include downtown Greenwood and part of the east side, and on Alexander Street from Airport Parkway to Country Aire Lane, and on Country Aire Drive from Country Aire Lane to Emerson Avenue, which are both neighborhood streets east of downtown that trucks use, she said.
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The council has not settled on a definition of trucks but is considering setting a specific weight limit.
Main Street is too narrow for semis. When semis drive through there, it creates a dangerous situation for other drivers and emergency vehicles, Gibson said.
“It is a mess if you have an ambulance or fire truck that needs to go through,” she said.
Gibson suggested that trucks could instead go north on Emerson Avenue or take Smith Valley Road instead of using the section of Main Street between U.S. 31 and Emerson Avenue. The two other roads included — sections of Alexander Street and Country Aire Lane — are part of subdivisions but are commonly used as a shortcut to get around portions of Main Street, she said.
“It’s not good to have truck traffic going through a residential neighborhood,” Gibson said.
Drivers that violate the rule could face a fine of up to $2,500. Those making deliveries to homes or businesses in the area would not be ticketed.
In 2014, Franklin established a city truck route after banning trucks weighing more than 5,000 pounds from using downtown streets. Semi drivers are supposed to take roads around the downtown area unless they have a delivery to make downtown.
Several Greenwood city council members noted that truck traffic through downtown Greenwood is a common concern of their constituents.
Truck traffic is also a bigger concern now as repairs are being done to the façades of downtown buildings.
“It is a safety issue for the people working on the scaffolding,” Gibson said.
Enforcement isn’t as straightforward.
Greenwood Police Deputy Chief James Ison told the council that an officer would need to see a truck enter the restricted area and follow it the entire time until it leaves before the officer could pull the driver over for a ticket. To just stop any truck driver in a restricted area to check their delivery logs would likely violate their constitutional rights, he said.
Officers need to act on the assumption that someone is innocent, not that they are guilty, Ison said.
Stopping truck drivers on Main Street would also be counterproductive, Gibson said.
“Once they are coming inside that section there are very few spots you can pull them off the road,” Gibson said.
Council members did not vote on the new rule and plan to discuss the issue again at their next meeting later this month.