The Parking Zone - March/April 2019

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.

March-April 2019

Tyson Fisher

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Truck Parking Information Management System overload

The beginning of 2019 kicked off with a huge media campaign for new technology specifically for truck parking, establishing the parking theme for the first two months of the year.

More than three years ago, eight Midwest states received a grant to implement a regional truck parking information management system where truckers will be provided with reliable, real-time information on parking availability. All systems are nearly ready to go, and news releases were sent out all month letting people know.

Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin will be implementing their Truck Parking Information Management System this year. I received a reminder from every state individually.

I know it’s not more parking, which is what we need. This is a system that lets you know where you can’t park because the lot is full. This is only slightly better than nothing. If you want to find out more, check out TrucksParkHere.com.

The good

To start, Love’s Travel Stops and Pilot Flying J opened a total of three new locations in January, totaling more than 300 additional parking spaces. Love’s opened a location in Holland Charter Township, Mich. (70 spaces) and PFJ opened one location in Matthews, Mo.

(170 spaces) and another location in Arlington, Wash. (78 spaces).

Looking ahead, St. Johns County, Fla., has approved a new Busy Bee travel center. A Thorntons truck stop is in the works in La Salle, Ill., and the Love’s in Boonville, Mo., has received the green light to expand its truck parking.

Although TravelCenters of America has not added any new locations yet, it is continuing to expand its services at existing locations. The latest is a new, improved UltraONE loyalty program. Check out TA-Petro.com for more details.

The bad

Meanwhile, there are some closures, parking bans and NIMBY action going on elsewhere.

One closure getting a lot of attention is the shutting down of the Nancy Hanks Rest Area near Dale, Ind. According to INDOT’s website, the rest area has 14 truck parking spaces each in the westbound and eastbound directions. The next rest area is the I-64 welcome center in Kentucky – 94 miles away. The silver lining here is that INDOT plans to expand other rest areas, including additional truck parking. Stay tuned.

In Ramsay, Mont., Love’s has delayed plans for a new location near Interstate 90. Despite opposition from residents, the city has given the company the all-clear. Why the delay? Not sure, but it allows plenty of time for the NIMBY crowd to strike again.

Here’s an odd one: residents of Williamsport, Md., are trying to prevent a truck stop that isn’t even a truck stop. In an effort to stop the building of a new convenience store, some Williamsport residents are arguing that zoning laws do not allow truck stops in the area. The only problem is that the proposed convenience store will only have four truck parking spaces and six diesel pumps, accounting for only a quarter of all fuel pumps.

An emerging trend in truck parking is local, residential bans. The latest comes out of Forks Township, Pa., where the city’s supervisors unanimously voted to ban large vehicles from parking on residential streets.

The ugly

I have lost count of how many times I have written about the debacle in Joliet, Ill. In October, the city council approved a new Love’s Travel Stop location despite fierce opposition. Naturally, the NIMBY crowd quietly walked away.

Just kidding. They are suing the city.

According to The Herald-News, residents (including a former city councilman) have filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming the council made a “spot zoning” decision. Spot zoning is applying a zoning to a particular piece of land in a larger zoned area in order to circumvent rezoning issues with the city’s master plan and/or current restrictions.

The lawsuit alleges that the new truck stop will allow “a noxious truck stop/tire shop operation that is wholly inconsistent with the existing residential character of that neighborhood.” Looks like we’ll be revisiting this again in the future.

Then again, this probably has more to do with the former councilman not getting three-quarters of a million dollars for his nearby home that’s for sale. 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.