Chief: Council has authority to prohibit food trucks in Chepachet village

A tractor trailer, slightly crossing the center line, makes its way past Barbara's Quick Lunch food truck, one of the more popular food trucks along Putnam Pike in Chepachet. NRI NOW photo by Dick Martin

GLOCESTER – Food trucks will remain in the center of Chepachet Village – at least for now.

At a previous Town Council meeting Councilor Cheryl Greathouse questioned if Glocester Police Chief Joseph DelPrete could remove or move food trucks causing safety concerns, particularly at the corner of Douglas Hook Road and Putnam Pike, the main street. Pulling out from Douglas Hook, agreed councilors, is difficult and potentially dangerous due to a lack of room, and the inability to see oncoming traffic when the trucks are parked there.

At the time, councilors and DelPrete were uncertain about whether or not the town has authority to prohibit parking on a state road. The main concern was line of sight for vehicles leaving side roads.

After meeting with the Rhode Island State Traffic Division, DelPrete told the council the town can regulate parking.

“I spoke with my liaison with the State Traffic Division,” DelPrete said. “He believes we can regulate or prohibit parking wherever we want on Route 44.”

DelPrete said he conducted a quick traffic study over the past three years, checking on accidents in the area from the intersection of Chopmist Hill Road and Putnam Pike to the rotary on the other side of the village.

“It’s a line of sight problem, and that could happen coming out of Kitson’s,” said DelPrete referencing the liquor store there.

“That could happen coming out of childcare,” he added of another business across the intersection of Douglas Hook Road and Putnam Pike. “At times, we are very, very busy. If we have a lot of traffic, a lot of parking on both sides. It can be a little bit tough.”

“You could have a pickup truck there and you could have the same issue as far as line of sight,” agreed Councilor Walter Steere.

The chief noted that even when it is not busy, parking sometimes causes line of sight problems, depending on vehicles and where they are parked. Larger vehicles, such as trailer trucks, make for tight maneuvering on the street at times, he said.

When asked if the police department has received many complaints, DelPrete said they haven’t, although there have been a few. Over the past two years, 12 accidents have been reported in the area along Putnam Pike between the Chopmist Hill intersection and the rotary. Only two have been reported at the intersection of Douglas Hook and Putnam Pike.

Council President William Worthy asked if food trucks could be assigned designated areas to help alleviate line of sight concerns.

“That would be up to the council to make that decision,” responded DelPrete. “But I don’t think it is a safety impact. It doesn’t make a difference if you have a food truck in the middle, or you had three pickup trucks and/or five, ten cars.”

Steere agreed that it is difficult to regulate parking along the main street, but that time constraints could potentially be imposed, which might help alleviate some of the problems.

Greathouse had previously suggested making use of the town pavilion for food trucks in order to make parking easier and move the vehicles from the locations in the middle of the village. She suggested that the council could vote to allow food trucks to use the pavilion. Currently, town regulations prohibit that use except on special occasions, such as 4th of July. Town Solicitor David Igliozzi explained that in order for that to happen, vendors would have to sign off on liabilities. Igliozzi said vendors would need to get special insurance on their own to make them responsible for any liabilities that may occur and remove the town from any liabilities.

No formal decisions were made regarding food truck parking.

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  1. Parking strping on both sides of 44 should never have been allowed and especially within 30′ or so of intersections

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