At-Large Position 5

Vehicles in Neighborhoods, Chapters 26 and 28

On July 12, 2022, the Regulatory and Neighborhood Affairs (RNA) committee convened to review the city’s rules and processes associated with junk motor vehicles, commercial vehicles, vehicles parked on lawns, and 18-wheelers in residential neighborhoods. Presentations were made by Park Houston, Houston Police Department (HPD), Planning and Development (PDD), Department of Neighborhoods (DON), and Government Relations (GR).

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.

Vice Chair Amy Peck and I submitted a memo to the mayor summarizing several recommendations for solutions. I am happy to report the administration has agreed to move forward with many of the suggestions including:

  • As of October 1, fines relating to commercial vehicles, large vehicles, and trailers/semi-trailers have been raised from $60 to $150
  • ARA/ParkHouston, HPD, and the legal department are working to bring the following ordinance revisions (as suggested by HPD) to council in spring 2023: 
    • Sec 26-2: Update definition of commercial vehicle to align with federal/state code for clarity and enforcement purposes. This update will include addressing the city’s current requirement that the logo/signage must be located on the outside of the vehicle’s front doors in order to be considered commercial. 
    • Sec 26-94: Include large vehicles in the section that prohibits trailers from parking more than two hours on a city street and reduce the time limit from two hours to one hour.
    • Section 26-96: Expand the ordinance restricting large vehicles to residential districts. HPD recommended extending the restriction to all city streets, but legal has recommended that the city instead review the definition of ‘residential area’ and seek a buffer or boundary area to protect neighborhoods.
  • ParkHouston has 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.
  • As a goal of Vision Zero, Planning will be working with HPW, Legal, HPD, and HFD to designate a citywide freight network. This designation will essentially limit the weight of vehicles on certain streets and will help address our issue with large vehicles on residential streets. I will work with the government relations team in the upcoming legislative session to advocate for the conversion of yard parking from a criminal offense to a civil offense in order to simplify and improve enforcement.
  • To see a broader list of updates, click here.