Lawmaker wants to ban trucks from carrying hazmat on some streets

Lawmaker wants to ban trucks from carrying hazmat on some streets

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - While standing at the intersection of St. Claude and Elysian Fields avenues, it doesn't take long to spot a freight truck. Last July, one carrying a toxic inhalation liquid hit and killed a bicyclist. The accident motivated attorney Jeffrey Thomas to take action.

"If you're going to be getting to the interstate, let's identify some viable alternatives that don't get you through a dense neighborhood," Thomas said.

Had the truck tipped over in the accident back in July, Thomas said a huge area would've had to be evacuated. Together with State Rep. Helena Moreno, they started crafting a proposal to limit where trucks carrying hazardous materials could travel on their journey to Interstate 10. It's similar to a current law that pertains to certain state roads.

Thomas explains, "It made sense to a lot of us that St. Claude, Elysian Fields and some stretches of Claiborne might qualify as state roads where that restriction would make sense."

The concern isn't just for bicyclists and passing motorists, but also for people who live along St. Claude and Claiborne avenues.

Lobbyists who work with the Port of St. Bernard aren't happy about the proposal, saying it'll restrict commerce to and from the parish. But Ride New Orleans executive director Rachel Heiligman sees the legislation as a needed step.

"Our city is changing. The way that we move around our city - people are walking, biking and riding transit more and more, and so it absolutely necessitates how we look at how we use our streets," Heiligman said.

FOX 8 tried to get an on-camera interview with the lobbyists for the Port of St. Bernard but were unsuccessful.

Moreno's bill still allows truck drivers to make deliveries at locations along the routes identified, just not use them to get to the interstate out of convenience.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.