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Increased truck traffic prompts proposed ‘Jake Brakes’ ban
Floresville city councilmen (from left) Mario Morones, Johnnie R. Gomez, and John W. Guerrero, Mayor Daniel Tejada (second from right), and Councilman Sherry Martinez Castillo congratulate Lt. Jesse Evins of the Floresville Police Department April 12 as Evins was recognized as the city’s April employee of the month.
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR./Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com
Wilson County News April 18, 2012 3,468 views 2 comments
FLORESVILLE -- The loud, rumbling staccato sound of engine-braking systems used on heavy trucks could soon become a memory here, as the Floresville City Council is working to prohibit the use of the devices sometimes called “Jake Brakes.” The council, at its April 12 meeting, unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance that would impose criminal fines upon violators.
Jake Brakes is vernacular for the braking system first manufactured in 1961 by the company now known as Jacobs Vehicle Systems. It utilizes a system in which the cylinders of a diesel engine are vented midway through their cycle, causing power to be absorbed as the truck’s speed is dramatically slowed.
While engine brakes ensure safe stops for vehicles, especially when towing heavy loads or stopping on steep downgrades, they are noisy. This is why municipal governments -- including Poth -- have passed ordinances that restrict their usage within their boundaries.
Councilman Johnnie R. Gomez said noise from engine brakes has become a more common occurrence in Floresville, thanks to increased tractor-trailer traffic related to the oil and natural gas boom.
The draft of Floresville’s ordinance allows for fines of up to $500 for drivers who use Jake Brakes within the city limits. Attorney Chris Hugg, who works with City Attorney Louis Rosenberg, said civil penalties could be assessed for companies which repeatedly violate the ordinance.
Also during the meeting, the council tabled its consideration of the sale of a city easement at 1403 10th St. The easement is an alley between two properties, which Hugg said is absent from all city maps dating back to 1910. The council will revisit the matter once a survey is complete. Former Councilman Pete Sanchez, who owns property along the easement, is paying for the survey.
The council also voted to appoint Gomez to work with city staff to establish recommendations for solid-waste collection, hauling, and disposal. City Manager Andy Joslin then informed the council of the timeline related to the city’s refuse contract -- despite the item not being listed on the meeting’s agenda. The current agreement with IESI expires Sept. 30.
Joslin said the city plans to advertise for proposals in May and award a contract in June, so that a potential new company could mobilize before the current agreement lapses. When Gomez attempted to add to Joslin’s remarks, Mayor Daniel Tejada stopped the discussion, reminding the councilman that the matter was not listed on the agenda.
In other business, the council:
•Accepted a deed to access an easement for the River Bend lift station at the Avalon residential subdivision.
•Recognized Lt. Jesse Evins of the Floresville Police Department as the city’s April employee of the month.
•Presented an “Outstanding Citizen Award” to Virgil Russell of the Floresville Cemeteries Restoration Association.
In attendance: Floresville Mayor Daniel Tejada and councilmen Mario Morones, Johnnie R. Gomez, John W. Guerrero, and Sherry Martinez Castillo, City Manager Andy Joslin, City Secretary Margaret DeHoyos, Cyndi Nichols of the city permits office, and attorney Chris Hugg of the Law Offices of Louis T. Rosenberg.
Your Opinions and Comments
Rabble Rouser Extraordinaire Adkins, TX April 20, 2012 9:41am
Dear Floresville City Council,
I'll "almost" cide with you for back in the day, and if you could afford one, engine brakes were only used to come down "mountains"...anyone using one on flat ground ... More ›
Dear Floresville City Council,
I'll "almost" cide with you for back in the day, and if you could afford one, engine brakes were only used to come down "mountains"...anyone using one on flat ground was a wimp!
So here is the deal...the City of Flo can not write city ordinance tickets to a DOT vehicle on US or State Hwys (for the use of engine brakes).
Unless, "the tractor trailer is on a city owned/maintained street"! Go to Marble Falls and see what happened when they tried to enforce the same ordinance on US 281!
Does anyone on the City Council in Flo realize how effective engine brakes are in slowing a heavy vehicle? In addition, do the same realize the importance of auxilary brakes, and understand the caliber of persons driving these 80K lb vehicles? Do you really want to reduce braking??
Here's a more thoughtful approach:
#1 After 10pm have all the traffic lights stay green on major roadways unless a vehicle stops in the traffic loop on a side street to activate a light change (A traffic loop is a magnetic or video area which will electronics will recognize that a vehicle has entered an area and an action needs to occur).
#2 Available 24 hrs have the traffic lights to flash/blink the green light, "before it changes to yellow"...this will give advance warning of a signal change, thus increasing the available stopping/reaction distance.
#3 More than likely, the hardware and software are already avaialable on the traffic lights on the major roadways/intersections, it's just a matter of approval, and programming to get this underway!
#4 Install signs coming into town indicating the aforementioned (the city is working with the tractor trailers as an indication of good faith) and the majority of the drivers will voluntarily turn off their engine brakes while in town!
Waa-laa, problem solved!