This story was updated Thursday, April 19, at 11:25 a.m.
By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña
A proposed ordinance that aims to reduce the number of tractor-trailers in Barrio Logan was unanimously approved and is set to be evaluated by City staff before it appears before the City Council.
The City of San Diego Environment Committee approved the Barrio Logan Clean Air Safe Streets Ordinance on April 12.
Activists recommend that the truck ordinance create a City designated truck route, expand the list of prohibited streets for trucks of 5 or more tons in the community and establish a clear path for City enforcement.
Members of the Environmental Health Coalition presented the ordinance before the committee and proposed that “heavy-duty trucks” use Harbor Drive to access the freeway as opposed to passing through Barrio Logan, according to the nonprofit’s policy recommendation.
“The quality of life for residents face negative impacts by these heavy-duty vehicles as they travel in close proximity to sensitive land uses,” the policy recommendation reads.
Barrio Logan is located south of downtown, with the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in the middle, interstate 5 to the east and industrial companies intertwined with homes and businesses.
In 2005, the City adopted a resolution that prohibited commercial vehicles of five or more tons from using specific identified streets in the community, however, activists believe it did not solve the problem.
The resolution identified specific streets that would be prohibited and established that signage should be installed around the community to guide drivers.
According to the policy recommendation, while that is beneficial to the community, “there are still daily violations which go unnoticed – pointing to a lack of enforcement of the current resolution.”
In a prior inquiry by La Prensa San Diego, a San Diego Police Department spokesperson and police officer that works the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit said they do enforce the resolution and have stopped “quite a few large vehicles” for violating the signs.
Since the publication of both stories, the department has not completed records requests for the exact number of vehicles stopped or ticketed found in violation of the resolution in Barrio Logan.
Following the announcement of the expansion of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, residents grew concerned and the Environmental Health Coalition carried out truck surveys on Boston Avenue due to reports of high truck traffic in the corridor.
According to the policy recommendation, Boston Avenue between 28th and 32nd Street is the only area in Barrio Logan that is zoned as exclusively residential.
“Residents of Boston Avenue participated in community research by conducting truck surveys, which yielded striking results including the travel of up to 59 heavy-duty vehicles within a two-hour period,” the policy recommendation reads.
Boston Avenue is not identified in the 2005 resolution.
Councilmember David Alvarez who represents the district where Barrio Logan is located and chair of the Environment Committee, said in a statement on Wednesday, April 18, that there is a need for designated routes, prohibition of additional streets and a clear path for enforcement.
“Barrio Logan is a thriving and growing community in the heart of San Diego and we need to ensure that there are ways to mitigate the impacts of diesel exhaust in and around the community,” his statement read. “Many thanks to the Environmental Health Coalition for their leadership and advocacy and to the Port of San Diego for their assistance on this issue.”
According to a EHC press release, the Port of San Diego joined the environmental advocacy organization in celebrating the decision.
“With the current redevelopment and reoptimization of the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, it’s especially important to the Port to be a good neighbor to the Barrio Logan community,” Chairman of the Port of San Diego Rafael Castellanos said in the release. “We support the designated truck route — it’s straightforward and common sense.”