The Parking Zone – May 2019

Truck parking a popular topic at MATS

May 2019

Tyson Fisher

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New reports regarding local truck parking are too numerous and small in scope to report on individually. However, what each of these news items means to the underlying national problem is too significant to ignore. Below is a roundup of the latest truck parking-related news items from across the United States.

Parking comment highlights OOIDA Town Hall Meeting

As part of the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association held a Town Hall Meeting to get input directly from drivers. Among the many comments, one impassioned driver stole the stage.

During the Town Hall Meeting, Lee Zirbel gave OOIDA executive staff her 2 cents’ worth about truck parking. Lee and her husband, Gary Zirbel, live in their truck, which makes parking even more vital to their livelihood.

Lee has called state legislators about their rest areas. When she tells them she does not live in their state, she has been told someone who lives in the state needs to file the complaint. Lee pointed out that plenty of her tax dollars go to the states, including IFTA, fuel and HUT taxes.

Lee wants state lawmakers to answer a simple question and has a simple solution if they can’t answer that question.

“Where is a safe place for us to park? And if not, we shouldn’t have to pay the taxes to that state.”

Essentially, Lee pointed out that a major problem within each state is a lack of funding for rest areas and other sources of truck parking. She does not want to pay those various taxes directly to those states if those dollars are not being used correctly.

Check out the full video of Lee’s statements at Land Line Magazine’s YouTube channel.

Secretary Chao also addressed truck parking at MATS

Depending on who you ask, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao’s speech may have been the marquee event at MATS. Although the main attraction of that speech was hours-of-service reform, Chao mentioned more than that.

During her remarks, Chao mentioned the U.S. Department of Transportation’s priorities, the first being safety.

“We want you to get home to your loved ones safely, and we also want to give you the flexibility and the freedom that you want.”

That was leading up to the HOS reform announcement, but the comments also applied to truck parking availability.

Chao discussed solutions derived from input from a variety of stakeholders, including drivers themselves. So what are the solutions? More studies? More technology letting you know about the lack of parking spaces up ahead?

“These solutions identified funding for additional parking spaces,” Chao said.

Of course, those solutions also include real-time technology. However, it was nice to hear the Secretary of Transportation acknowledge the most effective solution: more spaces.

How or when this will be accomplished, no one knows. Chao said that the National Coalition on Truck Parking will continue to host workshops to discuss truck parking access. Unfortunately, these workshops are nothing new. In other words, don’t hold your breath.

Other parking news

Here’s a speed round of other truck parking news, starting with the good:

  • Illinois DOT creates a truck parking lot in Marion.
  • City of Colorado Springs allowed truckers to park at New Life Church during March blizzard.
  • A Connecticut bill could reopen highway rest area buildings 24/7.
  • A truck stop is being developed off of Interstate 55 in Atlanta, Ill.

And the not-so-good parking news:

  • Springfield, Ill., Walmart was strong-armed into banning truck parking.
  • More than 68 percent of survey respondents opposed a rest area on Spaulding Turnpike, Exit 6, in Dover, N.H.
  • Woodland neighborhood in Bronx, N.Y., cracking down on truck parking.
  • NIMBY situation regarding a proposed Love’s Travel Stop in Sweetwater County, Wyo.
  • Another NIMBY situation brewing in Prince George, British Columbia. LL
Tyson Fisher

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.