The Parking Zone - August/September 2019
A Loves story
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.
Love’s Travel Stops’ rollercoaster summer
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores dominated the truck parking news cycle in early summer. There were several reoccurring situations. Some good, some bad.
In Joliet, Ill., Love’s has been on a steep uphill battle. The NIMBY crowd fought hard in this battle, but eventually Love’s won. However, construction for the new location has been delayed yet again, and it has nothing to do with the locals.
In this case, it’s infrastructure issues: sewers, water, road improvements, and so forth. Just when Love’s beat the NIMBYs, it came face-to-face with structural roadblocks. Construction has been moved to this fall and may possibly extend until next spring.
Near Moab, Utah, another fight against a truck stop continues. Love’s bought land from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. Many residents did not approve. The Grand County Council even wrote a letter to Love’s that basically said it’s not welcome.
Lynn Jackson, a former member of the Grand County Council, wrote an opinion piece in the Moab Sun News giving many residents a reality check. To start, Jackson points out that the Grand County Council has no jurisdiction. The proposed site is in San Juan County.
Second, Jackson addresses NIMBY concerns, including idling diesel trucks, impacts to night skies, impacts to adjoining neighborhoods, and increased crime through drugs, prostitution and human trafficking. He said many of these claims are “irrational and without demonstrated proof that I am aware of.”
“I frequent Love’s Travel Stops when I travel and they are pretty much without exception clean, well run, high-end establishments,” he wrote.
Third, Jackson points out how pivotal the U.S. Highway 191 corridor in the area is for freight. He points out that a truck stop will alleviate congestion and make the roads safer.
Lastly, Jackson reminds residents that San Juan County is one of the poorest counties in Utah. Why on earth would anyone reject a major revenue generator like Love’s?
Meanwhile, the newspaper in Ramsay, Mont., views a truck stop as a doomsday scenario for the residents of Ramsay and nearby Butte, Mont. A recent editorial in the Montana Standard is titled “Love’s would end Ramsay as we know it.”
“We are particular and emphatic fans of capitalism,” the editorial read. “We believe in the power of prosperity, and we believe in economic development. We want to assure, support and help develop the economic future of Butte and the county as a whole. But this project seems deeply unsuited for this little corner of the county …”
It appears that Ramsay residents want the best of both worlds. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
In lighter news, Etna Township in Ohio is opening four large distribution centers, including an 850,000-square-foot Amazon distribution center and three other distribution centers approximately 1.2 million square feet each.
With a lot of truck traffic expected, the town has plans to open a Love’s off of state Route 310. One would hope so.
In Monmouth, Ill., the City Council recently approved a development agreement for Love’s. Early plans show a new location planned off U.S. Highway 34/67. Construction is slated for next spring.
New locations from the Big Three
It has been a busy summer for Love’s and PFJ. Between the two truck stop chains, nearly a dozen new locations are open, adding nearly 1,000 truck parking spaces to the infrastructure in June alone. LL