MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The chambers of Morgantown City Council were full for Tuesday’s meeting because of the first reading of a proposed ordinance regulating certain heavy truck traffic in the city.  Council passed the ordinance 6-1.  A final vote is expected at the next meeting.

Many people spoke in favor of the ordinance during the pubic portion of the meeting, such as Morgantown resident Alex Baker. He said he has nothing against the truckers themselves, but believes large trucks on downtown streets are a safety hazard.

“I’m sure they are good people. When they’re driving these vehicles, they have one particular need – deliver their payload as quickly as possible from point A to point B, and if that requires cutting off traffic, driving in reckless and dangerous methods, then so be it,” he said.

Others went on to voice concerns about noise, air pollution and the need to establish a truck route around the downtown area.

A minority of people spoke against the ordinance based mostly on economic reasons. Mountain State Truck Parts Manager Charley Benson said she feels the economic impact would reach beyond the truckers.

“I don’t know if anybody’s considered the impact economically. If you take the trucks off the streets of Morgantown, you’re not just taking away business for trucks,” she said.

Discussion of the ordinance among the council members lasted nearly as long as the public comment period of the meeting. Council member Ron Bane said he has two major areas of concern should the ordinance be passed.

“One, are we liable and two, are we going to enforce it? I think those are fair questions to ask today.”

City Attorney Steve Fanok had an answer for at least one of Bane’s issues.

“The legislative bodies, when they enact an ordinance like this, or statute, there’s immunity for the legislative body,” he said. Fanok also noted that there’s immunity for anyone who is charged with enforcing the ordinance, such as police officers.

Bane asked City Manager Jeff Mikorski to make sure the city has a plan in place for enforcing the ordinance and other difficulties that would arise, such as signage along the affected routes.

Noting that safety is the legal basis for the ordinance, City Manager Jeff Mikorski asked the council for permission to make sure that point is thoroughly covered.

“I would like to pursue a full safety study of the routes that are in question. That would help us if and when the ordinance would be challenged in the court of law,” he said.

Council member Bill Kawecki said that, even though it is an emotional and contentious issue, the truck problem has been around for a long time and can be solved by a democratic process.

“We need to do this because we need to get together and cooperate and come up with solutions that are not just money based and not just somebody else’s problems. They are community problems and we need to solve them as a community,” he said.

Councilman Wes Nugent was the only “no” vote.

“When I read the passages of state code that are being cited, I come to a different conclusion. But I do agree with the concept of trying to work to find a lasting sustainable solution,” said Nugent.

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Comments

  • Mrs. T

    I highly doubt WVDOH is going to approve the signs needed to enfore the ordinance seeing as they dont approve of the ordinance anyway since a CITY is trying to take over a STATE road. And even if Morgantown can enforce it, WVDOH is not going to maintain or fund it. The city would be responsible for it. If they had no money last year for repairs, how is city council going to pay the massive bills to maintain it next year? These downtown WVU educated idiots dont have a lick of common sense.

  • Frank

    How many West Virginian does it take to figure out who is in charge?

    • Urkel

      Well the world moves on wheels so u tell us whos in charge , When we truckers have had enough and take a weeks vacation all at once . The stupid in this country will get a education

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    The truck drivers like looking at the college girls downtown (of course they have no chance at them looking back for obvious reasons ) and they can't get that kind of view on Greenbag . The job is boring so they go through town in hopes of catching a glimpse of some skin . On a somewhat more serious note , if trucks that are delivering product to downtown are exempt from the ban how will this ordnance change anything ? The limestone trucks are delivering a product in the downtown , aren't they ?

    • Urkel

      yes they are to the barge loadout right out from the power plant on beechurst

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    So if Berkley Springs already adopted a similar ordnance then I assume there is legal precedent to permit it . I don't know if anyone has challenged it though . In a perfect world a no truck ban would certainly enhance the quality of life in downtown Morgantown . But I'm not sure this is a top priority for city council . We just had a murder in the downtown and they didn't even mention it at a council meeting yesterday . I guess it wasn't important to them because it was a non constituent who got killed . You have to have a life before you can appreciate a "quality of life " . The student who was murdered doesn't seem to be a concern for these members of city hall . Their silence at the city council meeting spoke volumes . They had trucks on their minds , and stone cold creamery afterwards . How about finding a way to put more cops on the street like the mayor of Huntington did ? I guess violence against WVU students is ok with this city council unless of course they get hit by a truck .

  • kc61

    In answer to Mr.P., most certainly, I expect the city of Morgantown to do better. Consider the fact that in the same budget year when we had zero paving dollars, poor little old Fairmont had nearly half a million. So, once again with emphasis, YES, I expect better !

  • JustaFan

    Not sure the city has the authority to do this. Just because a road runs through a city doesn't mean it's a city road. If any of these roads are state roads, the city/county has no authority to enact such a ban

  • Mr.P

    The trucks that are leaving Greer Limestone are using Morgantown city streets as a shortcut to their load out facility on the river at Seneca,to where they should be made to use I-68 to I-79 north and exit at Star City and then proceed on Mon Boulevard to their destination,this is the only sensible route that should be IMPLEMENTED!!

    • Bug daddy

      That would be fine and dandy if the trucks were aloud to haul the weight they are capable of, they are required to pay interstate tax but are restricted to a low weight rating

  • Dennis

    I hope the state rescinds all funds for maintaining WV-7, US-19 & US-119 through this precious city. They did with Berkeley Springs, WV when they passed an ordinance banning through truck traffic on US-523.

    • in Berkeley Springs

      This did not happen. Trucks are not banned from 522.

    • jss

      us 522

  • Jamie

    I live in Sabraton and twice now my wife has almost been t-boned by truckers running through red lights going through Sabraton on Rt. 7. It was only her self awareness and ability to recognize that the idiot toting through town on his cell phone wasn't paying attention to the light to get stopped in time that kept her and my 3 year old daughter from being wiped out.

    I have no issue with law abiding truck drivers. You are invaluable to our economy and I appreciate your efforts. However, to those of you who speed through town and/or talk or text while driving should have your CDL's yanked for life. It's horrible when a car crashes into another car, but when an 80,000 pound truck hits a car . . . the car loses EVERY TIME and people die.

    The other safety issue is that we can't see around or over large trucks, so when they run a yellow light, there is no way of knowing that you're about to run a red light right behind them without staying 500 feet back . . . which on the interstate is fine, but in downtown Morgantown it's impractical. Sorry, drive around town, not through it.

    • Urkel

      U need to consider giving ur DL back to the state Its visible u dont comperhend driving

    • Mr.P

      I totally agree with Jamie,these trucks are breaking all kinds of moving violations,from driving up on sidewalks when making turns to no right on red traffic signals between the hours of 6am to 6pm being violated, while law enforcement turns their heads,but you better have your seat belt on or you'll get cited.

    • Shadow

      Don't always blame the truckers. The guys that time the lights and Physics have a whole lot to do about whether a truck can stop. The lights are generally timed for auto stopping distances and trucks a far back second. In fact, I am not sure they consider them. It is only the good driving of the truckers that prevents an excess of accidents. The should be congratulate for doing the best of getting the dirty end of the stick. Google truck stopping distances and see how they relate to yellow light times.

      • jss

        Experienced truckers KNOW! Do not blame the traffic lights.

        • Shadow

          You obviously have not studied Physics, vehicle systems, or human reactions.

  • kc61

    Who is going to pave and maintain the Greenbag Road ? Has anyone inquired? It would have been nice if this much reaction had been shown last year when our city of Morgantown had a street paving budget of zip ... yes, that's right ZERO !

    • Mr.P

      The state doesn't care of roads,do you except a city to do any better?

  • Edwin

    As I recall when the Greenbag Road was built It was built for transport of limestone Why can't that road be used for that purpose

    • Mr.P

      The trucks would still end going right thru town to get their destination which is Seneca

      • js

        Not true.why are they not going to the Greer loadout, that does not a require a trip downtown.

        • Urkel

          BECAUSE theirs no body to run the lock and dam to get barges down river to the other docks THATS WHY

  • Joe

    GOOD! Health, safety, and quality of life for the community comes before fcking Greer!

    • Shadow

      Health, safety, and quality of life are words of a scoundrel government as they cover a wide territory and mean nothing, just platitudes.

  • CaptainQ

    Seems there's not much interest in Morgantown about a 'truck' ordinance.

    Now if it was concerning couch burning....

  • Dumb Liberals

    All this time I thought it was illegal to pass any law that is contrary to WV statute.

    • jss

      Stupid anti-liberal: read the WV Constitution, then read the State Code. Should take you a couple weeks, with a teacher.

      • Dumb Liberals

        It might be worth your time to read it as there is a section in the WV Code prohibiting the making of any law that is directly contrary to the Code of WV. Oh, BTW, I have read and used the majority of the Code of WV for years, stupid liberal!.

        • jss

          Citation of Code section, please. You use the MAJORITY of the Code, not ALL of it? Do you just use what you want to make a point? What an idiot!

  • WV Guru

    Considering downtown Morgantown, it is hard for me to believe any person, including truckers, would want to go there unless they had to do it in pursuit of the work. Sounds like the Elites at work and worrying about being liable for their actions. Now they know they are not liable for their actions, they will probably do it. My question is: will it affect my pickup truck if I happen to pass through downtown? And how will I know short of being stopped and ticketed?

    • Mr.P

      Try it and find out and let us know how it went

    • jtf

      "will it affect my pickup truck if I happen to pass through downtown? And how will I know short of being stopped and ticketed?"

      It only applies to trucks weighing in excess of 26,000 pounds.

      • Shadow

        I hope that data is included on any signing that is put up. It would have been nice if the words of the ordinance were referenced in the article. As a note, there is a website "Council Connection" that provides coverage of the meetings and the ordinances. It seems to be nicely done and does provide the words of the ordinance.

        • Tracyo64

          A link to that site would have been appropriate