As Marble Falls seeks a more pedestrian-friendly downtown and residents raise concerns about heavy truck traffic on two residential roads, the City Council designated parts of the city as “no through truck traffic.”
The council approved the designation for Avenues G and F between 12th Street and RR 1431 on the east side of town. City Manager Mike Hodge said with The Home Depot located just northeast of these streets, residents reported a high number of trucks cutting through to get to and from RR 1431.
The police conducted a traffic study on Avenues G and F and found 1,600-2,200 vehicles a day traveled the roads, Hodge said, but not all of it truck traffic.
The heavy trucks, Hodge said, also possibly use Avenues G and F to avoid the Mormon Mill Road/U.S. 281 and RR 1431/U.S. 281 intersections.
The city has left Avenue E open to through truck traffic. Hodge explained that the Avenue E/RR 1431 intersection allows for better visibility in both directions when coming off the city street.
Under the ordinance, the “no through truck traffic” designation applies to “oversized and/or overweight truck or vehicle, truck-tractor, semi-trailer, or any combination thereof.”
The council is also discouraging heavy trucks using the Main Street Historic District in downtown Marble Falls. Hodge noted that many large trucks from the industrial area on the west side of town will cut through the Main Street area to avoid using the 1431-281 intersection.
Marble Falls Police Chief Mark Whitacre and his staff reached out to businesses that utilize heavy trucks about making changes to truck traffic as part of the process. After studying the issue, the city adopted a “no through truck” designation between Avenue J and U.S. 281 from Sixth Street to Johnson Park.
The designation for downtown includes:
Main Street from Buena Vista to Sixth Street
Fifth Street from U.S. 281 to Avenue J
Fourth Street from U.S. 281 to Avenue J
Third Street from U.S. 281 to Avenue J
Avenue H from U.S. 281 to Buena Vista
Second Street from U.S. 281 to Avenue J
First Street from U.S. 281 to Avenue H
First Street from Main Street to Avenue J
Yett Street from Avenue H to Avenue J
Hodge added that there are exemptions to the “no through truck traffic” for vehicles making deliveries, emergency vehicles, school and public buses, government-owned or leased trucks, travel trailers, boat trailers, recreational vehicles, and a few others.
The plan is to push the heavy trucks away from the downtown area to use RR 1431 to get to U.S. 281. Hodge added the designation does not include Seventh Street to U.S. 281 or Broadway to U.S. 281.
With the City Council passing the additions to the “no through truck traffic” areas, Hodge said police will begin a public education effort. Police and city officials have already begun meeting with businesses this ordinance directly affects, such as Huber, Hill Country Recycling, the Marble Falls Independent School District, and others on Industrial Boulevard.
“There was coordination with those companies that use trucks,” Hodge said. “Many have already begun talking to their drivers or the contract drivers.”
The city streets department will begin putting up signs as soon as they get them in, and then police will issue warnings as drivers get used to the new restrictions. Hodge added the city is looking at 30-45 days before everything is in place as far as signage.
These latest additions to the “no through truck traffic” designation join current ones that include Northwood Drive (from Pony Circle to U.S. 281), Bluebonnet Drive (from Pony Circle to Northwood Drive), Mission Hill Drive, Avenue K (between Mission Hill and RR 1431), and Avenue J (between U.S. 281 and RR 1431).