At-Large Position 5

Vehicles in Neighborhoods, Chapters 26 and 28

In 2022, RNAconvened to review the city’s rules and processes associated with commercial vehicles and 18-wheelers parked in residential neighborhoods. Council members and department staff discussed ways to better address these issues which really bring down the aesthetics and quality of life in several Houston neighborhoods. Presentations were made by Park Houston, Houston Police Department (HPD), Planning and Development (PDD), Department of Neighborhoods (DON), and Government Relations (GR).

Following the meeting, a memo was submitted to Mayor Turner summarizing several recommendations made by council members and the presenters. The administration agreed to raise fines for large vehicle parking violations from $60 to $150 and bring forward amendments to strengthen the parking ordinance. Those amendments were approved by city council on July 12, 2023, and include updating the definition of commercial vehicle to align with federal/state code for clarity and enforcement purposes as well as closing a loophole that a logo/signage must be located on the outside of the vehicle’s front door to be considered commercial. Now signage anywhere on the vehicle classifies it as commercial. Additional amendments were approved to include large vehicles in rules that prohibit trailers and commercial vehicles from parking more than two hours at any time on a city street. Parking of all large trucks, commercial vehicles, and trailers is strictly prohibited from 2:00 am to 6:00 am.

ParkHouston also updated its large vehicle website and respective literature/educational materials. Staff has met with members of the Texas Trucking Association and the Houston Council of Safety Professionals to educate them on the city’s rules and processes.

On November 29, city council revised Chapter 33 of the city’s code of ordinances to authorize the Planning and Development Department (PDD) to establish a citywide truck route plan. The plan aims to effectively manage freight movement, enhance roadway safety, and improving the quality of life in Houston by guiding commercial vehicles to travel on designated truck routes. Beginning in January 2023, PDD began collecting input and ideas from concerned residents and stakeholders through three public meetings, two stakeholder meetings, community survey, trucking industry survey, online truck hotspot mapping tool, and neighborhood tours. Planning staff presented the proposed ordinance to the Planning Commission on October 19, 2023, and presented to TTI on November 9, 2023

A spring 2024 pilot program is planned for the Settegast community to test the proposed through truck route designation approach before finalizing the citywide plan.