Huntley bans heavy trucks from downtown streets

Huntley has banned trucks weighing more than six tons from driving through the village's revamped downtown historic district.

The village board recently approved the ordinance, which prohibits dump trucks, tractors, truck-tractors, semitrailer trucks or any heavy machinery more than 25 feet long or more than 8 feet wide on downtown streets.

Officials also adopted preferred truck routes to maintain safe and efficient movement of goods and services.

Downtown business owners and village leaders sought the restrictions to maintain a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.

Huntley has made nearly $4 million in improvements downtown, including upgrading infrastructure, relocating overhead and underground utilities, renovating stormwater and sewer lines, and improving landscaping and sidewalks near the downtown square. Work involved widening sidewalks along Main Street, reconstructing streets, and adding signage, carriage walks with raised planters, benches, bike racks, trash receptacles and trees.

"We spent millions of dollars to redo the whole downtown area," resident Ken Croswell said, supporting the restriction at a recent village board meeting. "We put in brick crosswalks. We accommodated businesses, put tables and chairs out there to have people sit out and enjoy the weather."

An 18-wheeler would not only damage those crosswalks but also pollute downtown with noise, dust and dirt, Croswell said.

Resident Chuck Beach, who drives large trucks and plows through downtown, said singling out trucks is unfair.

"The cars more than outnumber the trucks 50 to 1, and then you got school buses and everything else," he said. "The trucks only go there between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m."

A majority of village trustees supported the measure.

"I personally was able to talk to nine of the property owners directly downtown and it was unanimous they felt that the semis should be restricted downtown," Village President Chuck Sass said. "We are trying to make it pedestrian-friendly. ... Some want to put tables and chairs outside."

Sass said it's not too much of an inconvenience for trucks to use Algonquin Road instead.

Officials said trucks making local deliveries will be allowed to deviate from designated truck routes through the shortest route to their destination and must return the same way. There is a 90-day grace period during which warning tickets will be issued for first-time offenders.

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