Neighbors complain about idling trucks, noise, fumes outside Denver Coca-Cola bottling plant

Signs posted by company ban truck parking

DENVER - The signs say "No Truck Parking" and "Idling Restricted Area," but residents who live across the street from the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant say it's almost like the signs aren't there.

"It’s just very frustrating," said Jeanette Vigil.  "I have asthma and the fumes are real bad."

Vigil said truck drivers park on 38th Avenue adjacent to the plant and let the engines idle for hours on end.

"They idle from the time that they park until the time that they leave," Vigil said.

Vigil’s husband, told 7NEWS that the fumes are unbearable.

"You can taste it on your lips," he said.

Vigil also said that ruck traffic is a major issue, and that with a long line of trucks parking in one one lane of 38th, there's only one lane left for traffic going in both directions.

"Sometimes oncoming traffic speeds by to get around the trucks before cars coming the other direction can block their path," Vigil said. "One of the neighbor kids almost got hit."

Some truck drivers sympathize with Vigil.

"They don’t need to hear the noise, especially if they’ve got a baby," said James Swart. "I wouldn’t want (a truck) idling by my house."

Swart says he doesn't leave his truck idling when he's in a residential area.

When asked why some truckers do, Swart replied, "That’s just the way they are… some of them are old school."

Vigil said they’ve tried to talk to people at the plant, but nothing has been done.

He said they called police and an officer came out and made the truckers shut off their engines, but Vigil said that hasn’t solved the problem.

When 7NEWS contacted Denver Public Works to ask about parking enforcement, we were told the "No Parking" signs were private signs, not city-owned.

Environmental health officials said their department had no record of any complaints.

"Now that we know about it, there is recourse for the people," said Gregg Thomas, manager of the Air, Water and Climate Section.

Thomas said, "We’re always trying to educate people and help them figure out what the solution is. We want to give them a chance to correct the problem."

He said it won’t be an overnight fix.

Vigil said she understands.

"We don’t have a problem with Coca-Cola," she said. "We just want the issue addressed."

When asked how the city would deal with a situation like the one at the bottling plant, Thomas said crews will survey the street and enter the information into their system.

"We’ll talk to the folks at the Coke plant and figure out why the trucks are staging out on the street," he said.  "Then we’ll try to come up with potential solutions."

Denver’s City Ordinance limits idling to 5 minutes in a one hour period.

"Signs can help educate," Thomas said, "but there needs to be some type of enforcement."

Swart said he hopes the solution isn’t asking truckers to stay at a truck stop until the plant has an open spot for them to drive in and unload their shipment.

"That’s not very efficient," Swart said. "It’ll burn more fuel going back and forth."

7NEWS contacted the bottling plant to ask about the parking issue.  A woman who answered the phone hung up.

Coca-Cola spokeswoman Maria Ashley called Monday night to say a 7NEWS reporter's call was accidentally disconnected.

Ashley said Coca-Cola is working to address neighbors' complaints.

"We understand that concerns have recently been raised regarding vehicles waiting to enter our facility from 38th Street," Ashley said in an email statement. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may be causing.  We are committed to being good neighbors and are in the process of evaluating ways to address the concerns raised."

 Thomas said if a company is unwilling to work with the city to fix an issue, the city will take the next step. He said residents who have complaints about idling issues should call 311 or their city council representative.