Greenwood ordinance would limit big trucks through Old Downtown

GREENWOOD, Ind. -- An ordinance being discussed among Greenwood City Council members would put restrictions on large trucks traveling down Main Street through the Old Downtown area.

Councilwoman Linda Gibson says the ordinance she authored is intended to ease traffic congestion in the narrow Main Street corridor.

“The people just feel that the large vehicles belong somewhere other than coming through the main part of the city,” Gibson said.

The city of Greenwood already has several signs directing truck traffic away from Main Street, but there is no ordinance on the books to back up the warnings.

“Right now the signage and the ordinance that we have, it doesn’t fit,” said Greenwood Assistant Police Chief Matt Fillenwarth.  “It’s unenforceable.”

If passed, the ordinance would restrict semi trucks, and possibly large box trucks, from using Main Street as a through route between Emerson Avenue and US 31.  The restriction would also limit large trucks from using specific residential streets to the north, where residents have complained about trucks using their subdivisions as a shortcut, Gibson said.  Those residential streets include portions of Alexander Street and Country Aire Lane.

Main Street is a seemingly quick route to State Road 135 and US 31 for vehicles exiting I-65.  On a map, it appears to be the shortest way to get from one side of Greenwood to the other.  But in reality, the narrow Main Street corridor can prove to be a traffic headache when vehicles get backed up on the two-lane street.  Gibson says the backups are made worse by large trucks rolling slowly through the area and making wide turns at cramped intersections.

“Try to encourage them to take the Smith Valley Road bypass and not be using this as their short route to get back and forth,” Gibson said.

Fillenwarth points out that not all large trucks would be prohibited from the Old Downtown area.

“There are semis and trucks that are making legitimate stops in there,” Fillenwarth said.  “There are businesses, there are restaurants.”

Greenwood officers will only issue citations to truck drivers who use the Main Street corridor as a throughway.

“Our officer has to observe the truck enter the area, and drive completely through it,” Fillenwarth said.

Another reason to wait until a truck has passed completely through the zone is that there isn’t enough room to pull a large truck over along Main Street without causing further traffic congestion, Fillenwarth said.

According to Gibson’s ordinance, violators could face fines up to $2,500.  She and other members of the council are still discussing specifics on what kinds of trucks will fall under the ordinance.  A similar ordinance in nearby Franklin sets the weight limit at 5,000 pounds.

Council members are expected to discuss the issue further during their next meeting on Monday.  Gibson believes a first reading vote will take place.  A second and final reading vote is possible, but it is more likely to be held at a later meeting.  The proposal could become law in Greenwood in several weeks.