Parking of landscape vehicles and heavy equipment along roadways with soft shoulders will be restricted under an ordinance introduced on Tuesday, February 12, by the Bloomfield Hills City Commission.
Bloomfield Hills City Manager David Hendrickson said the city has accelerated rehabilitation of city-owned streets, but there remains a need to prevent premature cracking of the roadway edges linked to landscape construction vehicles and other heavy equipment.
“Many of our roads don't have curbs, but have soft shoulders,” Hendrickson said. “Those can take time to harden up and support the road. We have construction and landscaping vehicles and equipment, and we are concerned about vehicles going over the edge of the road and causing premature cracking.”
Hendrickson said continued traffic over the road edges caused many newly paved roads to prematurely crack, either from the weight of the vehicles or the vehicles creating ruts and voids next to the road's edge. The ruts, he said, diminishes the needed support to prevent the road edge from cracking.
To prevent deterioration, an ordinance was drafted to require all vehicles, trailers and machinery to park on the paved portion of the roadway and not on the soft shoulder.
Hendrickson said the ordinance would include potential fees for violations, including a $200 penalty for the first offense and $500 for a second or subsequent offense. However, he said the hope is to educate those parking on the shoulder and not have to issue any citations.
“I think our approach would be like with construction parking,” he said. “We got together with our code enforcement officer and the chief to educate people and curb the situation and not write up any tickets,” he said. “It would be a civil infraction, while most ordinance violations are misdemeanors. We thought that was heavy handed if we did in fact write a ticket.”
Commissioner Sarah McClure said the ordinance makes sense considering that many of the same vehicles and trailers are parked in the same locations each week.
“In many cases they could pull into the homeowners' drive,” she said. “I think this would protect our streets.”
Commissioner Stuart Sherr said roads should be lasting longer in the city and he believes the ordinance would help. Sherr suggested minor amendments to the ordinance for clarity and grammar.
The ordinance was unanimously approved.