Suggesting possible solutions

Concerns about safety issues and property damage from semi truck traffic on Moulton and Park Street were brought up again during the citizens to be heard portion of Tuesday’s Greenville City Council meeting.

Concerns about safety issues and property damage from semi truck traffic on Moulton and Park Street were brought up again during the citizens to be heard portion of Tuesday’s Greenville City Council meeting.

Since March, residents of the neighborhood and business owners with property on Park or Moulton Street have spoken at several city council meetings.

Over the months, they have described problems that include children having to “move off the sidewalk” to avoid semi trucks as they’ve turned off of Moulton onto Park Street and truck drivers missing their turn off of Park onto Johnson Street and having to back up after almost going the wrong way onto Stonewall.

Since those first complaints in March, one of city administration’s main efforts to help keep semi trucks out of the heavily residential area has been the increase of signage saying ‘No Thru Trucks’ for drivers as they exit Interstate 30 and turn onto Moulton Street – which is a section of Business Highway 69.

However, despite increases in signage and enforcement, homeowners and business owners situated near the intersection of Park and Moulton Street continued to have issues like tree limbs falling into their driveways after being broken off by semi trucks and power outages due to utility poles being struck.

In June, representatives from the Texas Department of Transportation told the city council that the city is responsible for any changes made to truck routes within Greenville – even if those truck routes are on designated state highways.

“The city has to pass an ordinance if you want to change the truck route, and all the signage has to be paid for by the city,” Tommy Henderson of TxDOT told the Greenville City Council on June 27. “Back in 2000, when your council approved the current route, the 10 signs you put out cost about $26,000, so it gets pretty expensive.”

After the input given by TxDOT and still persisting problems with semi truck traffic on Moulton and Park Street, two individuals came to Tuesday’s meeting to suggest possible solutions.

One of them, Dennis Mathis, actually met previously with Greenville City Manager Summer Spurlock, TxDOT Area Engineer Martin Gonzalez and Greenville Police Chief Scott Smith in March, to discuss the issue.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mathis – a resident of the neighborhood on Park Street – began by describing another recent semi truck-related incident on Moulton Street.

“A truck tried to turn around in the parking lot by Glenda’s Cafe and turned over a pole and blocked traffic for a little bit,” Mathis told the council.

After describing the recent incident at Glenda’s, Mathis proceeded to give his suggestion.

“Let’s see if we can hire a consultant that has some expertise in traffic flow, truck routes, hazmat requirements, and signage, and let’s see if they can come up with a feasible way of combining the Business 69 route with the existing truck routes,” Mathis said. “After this review, I hope that the council would talk about it, look at the reviews, and recommendations, and see if they can act upon them to help make sure that traffic situation on Park and Moulton is taken care of.”

The other person who came to Tuesday’s city council meeting to talk about semi truck traffic in the area was Rodney Follis, a former truck driver who owns a business on Moulton Street.

While trucks exiting from I-30 have have been a focus of many earlier discussions about the issue, Follis pointed out that truckers exiting from Highway 69 onto Jack Finney – by Forest Park Cemetery – and then onto Moulton were also contributing to the problem.

Follis, to began by describing a recent 18-wheeler related incident on Moulton Street.

“One of the amusing things that happened … not too long ago, was when three windmill propellors came down Moulton,” he said to the council. “They were about 125 feet long.

“They got to Park Street, one of the guys got out and shook his head because there was just no way, so they had to back up, all the way to 69,” Follis continued. “They tied up traffic and tied up several patrolmen for a number of minutes, perhaps an hour.”

Then, Follis pointed out that one of the signs pointing down Moulton off of Highway 69 doesn’t have the word “business” on it, to indicate that it goes through downtown.

“One of the signs points down Moulton Street - it does not say ‘Business 69,”’ he said. “Now, if you’re a young truck driver, and we have lots of young truck drivers that are inexperienced … you’re not gonna know not to go that way.

“There are trucking schools that turn out a ‘truck driver in six weeks,’” Follis explained. “There’s a bill where they’re considering lowering the age requirement for a commercial drivers license from 21 to 18, so we need to help these guys all we can.

“But, with that sign there, if it had the word ‘business’ on top of it, that would probably eliminate some of the trucks that accidentally get on that road,” Follis said.

Travis Hairgrove is a news reporter and features writer at the Herald-Banner and covers city government for many municipalities in Hunt County. To reach him outside of business hours, email THairgroveReporter@gmail.com.