The tables have turned

December 2019/January 2020

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.

Maybe it’s coincidental, but since the November issue there have been several parking-related news items that involve people outside of the trucking industry. Perhaps a change in perspective will lead to a change in heart.

One story is one that has been discussed before in The Parking Zone. Truckers in Kentucky have been reporting predatory enforcement of parking at Walmarts in Berea and Williamsburg. To recap, those Walmart locations hired R and R Parking Management to patrol the lots. Unfortunately, truckers were getting booted with little to no warning.

WKYT-TV did a report about some late-night shoppers that witnessed truckers getting the boot.

“They’ll knock, barely tap on the door – that way they know (the driver) won’t wake up so they can boot them anyway,” Chris Young, one of the shoppers, told WKYT.

Finding this tactic to be less than fair, Young and some of this friends began knocking on truck doors at a volume that could be heard. The men went around warning truckers of the impending problem.

Tip of the cap to good Samaritans who understand the struggle.

While the trucking industry struggles to get the government to supply some parking spaces, it appears some local governments have no problem forking over cash for other parking needs.

Sound familiar?

Recently, Vox Media published a story about parking lots for the homeless. As the cost of living on the West Coast gets increasingly unaffordable, many are finding themselves out of a place to live. Also known as a housing affordability crisis, the issue is forcing some people to live in their cars.

Some West Coast cities are developing safe parking lots for these people. According to Vox, “safe parking plans are combined with a new ban on street RV parking between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.” in Berkeley, Calif. How glorious it would be if every local government truck parking ban was supplemented with designated truck parking spaces.

Unlike the truck parking crisis, the problem here is a larger, deep-rooted systematic issue dealing with poverty, wages and increasing housing costs. Parking spaces are just a bandage over a broken leg. Conversely, the truck parking crisis is simply an extreme shortage of spaces, and it can be solved by adding more spaces. Yet, the trucking industry struggles to receive any sort of government cooperation to address the issue.

On the other side of the country, New York State Forest Rangers in the town of St. Huberts are beefing up their enforcement of illegal parking.

However, it isn’t truck drivers they are busting.

According to the Burlington Free Press, forest rangers patrolling a no-parking zone on Route 73 have been noticing an increase in passenger vehicles illegally parked. A very popular hiking location, designated lots are filled quickly during peak hours. Sound familiar?

Eventually, the state Department of Environmental Conservation increased enforcement and lowered the speed limit in affected areas. Enforcement worked, but some undeterred motorists tried to circumvent the ordinance by cramming into spaces within the parking zone.

According to the report, one motorist who received a warning, Megan Liechty, was feeling the pinch.

“It’s really difficult to find parking,” Liechty told the Burlington Free Press. “I’ve had to weasel into places, I’ve waited 20 to 30 minutes for a space. It’s just really difficult.”

Again, sound familiar?

Noteworthy rest area closure

The overwhelming majority of truck parking spaces is provided by the private sector. However, there are some public sector spaces, i.e., rest areas on busy interstates.

One of those rest areas is the Grantville rest area on Interstate 81 near mile marker 79 in Pennsylvania. The rest area on both sides is closed and will not open until sometime next summer.

It’s a long closure on a busy corridor, but there is a silver lining here. The closure is due to a complete makeover – a makeover that includes more truck parking spaces once it is completed.

Hundreds of new parking spaces nationwide

Meanwhile, the private sector is still busy keeping up with demand. In just one month, Love’s Travel Stop, Pilot Flying J and TravelCenters of America added more than 400 truck parking spaces at the following new locations.

  • Love’s off of state Route 49 in Edon, Ohio (111 truck parking spaces).
  • Love’s off of Interstate 94 in St. Clair, Mich. (104 spaces).
  • Love’s off of Highway 10 West in Missoula, Mont. (58 spaces).
  • Love’s off of Interstate 20 in Eutaw, Ala. (96 spaces).
  • PFJ at 4200 W. Highway 302 in Odessa, Texas (15 spaces).
  • TA Express (formerly Oasis Mart) at 5490 N. Highway 146 in Baytown, Texas (60 spaces).

Home of 18 Wheels for Bubba passes truck parking ban

The city council of Milton, Wis., voted 6-1 for an ordinance that bans truck parking on all city streets except one. Truckers also can’t park at home.

While the ordinance isn’t all that unusual, it passed in the town where truckers organized an event called “18 Wheels for Bubba” just a year earlier. In August 2018, hundreds of truck drivers threw a 16th birthday party for Milton resident Dakota “Bubba” Cadd, who has cerebral palsy and Dandy-Walker Syndrome. A lover of trucks, truck drivers around the nation rallied around Bubba and gave him a party that was featured on CBS Evening News.

In addition, truck drivers also donated about $3,600 to Milton schools. LL

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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.