Sep 15, 2021 - News

Des Moines officials fed up with semis illegally parking on residential streets

A semi-trailer parked along Easton Boulevard in Des Moines recently.
A semi-trailer parked along Easton Boulevard in Des Moines recently. Photo courtesy of Linda Westergaard

Semi-trucks are illegally parking in neighborhoods across Des Moines, and City Council members have had enough.

Driving the news: Councilperson Bill Gray directed city staffers this week to propose a penalty that "puts a little teeth into it," suggesting the Des Moines' $15 fine is too inconsequential.

Why it matters: It's a safety issue. Pedestrians and other motorists can't easily be seen when big rigs are parked on narrow residential streets.

  • But it's also an annoyance for people who have limited street parking.

State of play: Gray said he has gotten complaints from residents in the Merle Hay and Beaverdale areas for about two years.

  • Two or three semi-trailers are sometimes parked in a row along the streets, he said.
  • The final straw occurred when Gray found a semi parked near his home along Franklin Avenue over Labor Day.

Be smart: Under city ordinance, semi-trailers are generally prohibited from parking on residential streets.

  • Yes, but: Gray contends the fine is so tiny that it's cheaper or more convenient than parking at nearby truck stops.

What they're saying: Councilperson Linda Westergaard said it's an ongoing problem on the city's east side, too.

  • Des Moines resident Melva Jones told Axios she's considered moving from her home of 27 years near Washington Avenue and Easton Boulevard because of the problem.

What's next: The council is expected to review changes to the ordinance next month.

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