Minneapolis proposes sweeping truck parking ban

June 23, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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Editor’s note: On Wednesday, June 23, the Minneapolis Transportation and Public Works Committee voted 4-1 with one absent vote to recommend the restrictive parking ordinance to the full Minneapolis City Council for further consideration.

Minneapolis is trying to ban truck parking within the city, and trucking stakeholders are not thrilled.

On Wednesday, June 23, the Transportation and Public Works Committee in Minneapolis was scheduled to hear a proposal to prohibit truck parking in the city. Ordinance 2019-00855 states “no vehicle or hitched or unhitched combination, with or without load, which weighs more than 26,000 pounds or is registered for a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds shall be permitted to stop, stand or park on any street.”

Essentially, no trucks are allowed to park in Minneapolis. Exceptions include “expeditiously” loading or loading and complying with signs “regulating the weight of a vehicle or combination or at the directions of an authorized traffic control agent or police officer.” In other words, if a truck is not engaging in business or getting pulled over by law enforcement, it needs to keep on moving through Minneapolis.

Drivers who violate the truck parking ban, if passed, could face an initial $150 fine through Dec. 31, 2022. After that, the fines bump up to $250. Citations can be given to either the driver, lessee or owner of the vehicle.

According to city documents, Minneapolis prohibits vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds from parking in residentially zoned areas. However, no truck parking ban exists in other types of zones.

Residents and businesses have been complaining about trucks parking on city streets, which they say has increased in recent years. Common complaints include:

  • Obstructed sightlines at intersections and driveway curb cuts.
  • Obstructed regulatory signage.
  • Narrowing and encroachment of bicycle and motor vehicle travel lanes.
  • High traffic volumes due to travel to and from parking locations.
  • Obstructed views of business signs and addresses.
  • Reduced parking available for guests of area businesses.
  • Obstructed fire hydrants.
  • Noise and emissions from excessive vehicle idling.
  • Litter generated from food and beverage consumption and truck maintenance activities.

City officials claim there are 200-300 trucks parked on city streets at any time depending on the time of day and day of the week.

A 2019 study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation found several factors contributing to higher parking demand. Those factors include more trucks on the road, increased limitation on hours of service, ELDs and expectations to increase productivity.

Despite the truck parking ban proposal, the city of Minneapolis appears to understand the parking crisis felt nationwide.

“The availability of truck parking is a public safety concern,” a background analysis to the committee states. “The farther drivers must go to find parking, the more likely they are to be near or past their hours-of-service limit, which can affect a driver’s level of alertness. Traveling greater distances to find parking also results in more vehicle-miles-traveled, including the associated traffic congestion, fuel consumption, and emissions.”

Aware of the situation, city documents say that Minneapolis also is taking measures to help develop parking alternatives for affected truckers. This year, the city added an item to its Legislative Agenda and Policy Positions to advocate for identifying solutions to the lack of designated truck parking. The Department of Community Planning and Economic Development has identified facility and licensing requirements that can be shared with anyone interested in forming an off-street parking facility for trucks.

Opposition to Minneapolis truck parking ban

The city’s proposal was immediately met with criticism, with the Minnesota Trucking Association and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association expressing their opposition.

In a statement, Minnesota Trucking Association President John Hausladen said the “ban would force truck drivers to park outside of the city, which would impede on-time deliveries and disrupt daily commerce.”

“Many of the trucks parked overnight are owned by independent contractors who live in Minneapolis,” Hausladen said. “These small businesses, many of whom are minority owned, would have no viable alternative for overnight parking. This ban could effectively force many of these hard-working residents to choose between their livelihood and the place they call home. With an existing truck driver shortage we simply cannot afford to have qualified drivers leave the industry.”

In a news release, Hausladen points out that 96.5% of manufactured tonnage is transported by trucks in Minnesota. Nearly 22,000 trucking companies are located in the state.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of state legislative affairs, points out that this scenario has become too commonplace in recent years, revealing a lack of respect for truckers.

“Sadly it’s not even that rare for local communities to effectively ban big trucks, including some major metro areas,” Matousek said. “Sometimes it feels like elected officials wake up in the morning and ask themselves ‘How can we make trucking even more difficult?’ And I realize big trucks can create some challenges for local communities, but consider what challenges might exist without everything that big trucks bring. This effort in Minneapolis highlights a total lack of respect for and appreciation of the men and women that make their living behind the wheel out on the road. Hopefully people will get involved, speak up, and put an end to this bad idea.”

Truckers and other stakeholders are encouraged to respectfully express their opposition to the city of Minneapolis. The Minneapolis City Hall can be reached at 612-673-3000. LL

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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.