Authority of Texas Counties to Regulate Parking

A recurring problem on some rivers in our area is parking.  County Commissioners often restrict parking at river access points.  Sometimes the "no parking" area is much larger than necessary to prevent blocking the road.  This writer has to believe that counties create excessive "no parking" zones to mollify local landowners who resent a public presence at river crossings.

Paddlers often question whether County Commissioners can restrict parking around navigable streams.  Navigability of a stream is unrelated to the authority of a county to regulate parking.  Counties do have the authority to regulate parking, but the authority has limits.  The authority is in Transportation Code 251.156.

That section is a part of county authority to regulate traffic and safety.  As of the creation of this page, the effective text is set out below.  Check the link above to assure there have been no changes.

 

251.151. Authority of Commissioners Court

The commissioners court of a county may regulate traffic on a county road or on real property owned by the county that is under the jurisdiction of the commissioners court.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

251.152. Public Hearing Required

(a) Except as provided by Section 251.159, before the commissioners court may issue a traffic regulation under this subchapter, the commissioners court must hold a public hearing on the proposed regulation.

(b) The commissioners court shall publish notice of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. The notice must be published not later than the seventh or earlier than the 30th day before the date of the hearing.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

251.153. Load Limits on County Roads and Bridges

(a) The commissioners court of a county may establish load limits for any county road or bridge in the manner prescribed by Section 621.301.

(b) The commissioners court may authorize a county traffic officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, or deputy constable to weigh a vehicle to ascertain whether the vehicle's load exceeds the limit prescribed by the commissioners court.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1227, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

251.154. Maximum Reasonable and Prudent Speeds on County Roads

(a) The commissioners court of a county, by order entered on the minutes of the court, may determine and set a maximum reasonable and prudent speed for a vehicle travelling on any segment of a county road, including a road or highway intersection, railroad grade crossing, curve, or hill.

(b) In determining the maximum reasonable and prudent speed, the commissioners court shall consider all circumstances on the affected segment of the road, including the width and condition of the road surface and the usual traffic on the road.

(c) The maximum reasonable and prudent speed set by the commissioners court under this section may be lower than the maximum speed set by law for a vehicle travelling on a public highway.

(d) A speed limit set by the commissioners court under this section is effective when appropriate signs giving notice of the speed limit are installed on the affected segment of the county road.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

251.155. Restricted Traffic Zones

(a) The commissioners court of a county may adopt regulations establishing a system of traffic control devices in restricted traffic zones on property described by Section 251.151.

(b) A system of traffic control devices adopted under this section must conform to the manual and specifications of the Texas Department of Transportation.

(c) The commissioners court by order entered on its minutes may install and maintain on property to which this section applies any traffic signal light, stop sign, or no-parking sign that the court considers necessary for public safety.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

251.156. Parking Restrictions

(a) The commissioners court of a county by order may have signs installed that prohibit or restrict the stopping, standing, or parking of a vehicle in a restricted traffic zone on property described by Section 251.151, if in the opinion of the court the stopping, standing, or parking:

(1) is dangerous to those using the road or property; or

(2) will unduly interfere with:

(A) the free movement of traffic; or

(B) the necessary control or use of the property.

(b) The commissioners court of a county by order may provide that in a prosecution for an offense involving the stopping, standing, or parking of an unattended motor vehicle in a restricted traffic zone on property described by Section 251.151 it is presumed that the registered owner of the vehicle is the person who stopped, stood, or parked the vehicle at the time and place the offense occurred.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.  Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1080, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.