The Parking Zone – April 2018

April 30, 2018

Tyson Fisher

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Every week, there are several news articles across the nation related to truck parking. They range from a state department of transportation closing a rest area to local city councils preventing the opening of a truck stop.

News 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.

Illinois Town approves permits for new Love’s location

The Moline Dispatch/Rock Island Argus is reporting the city of Atkinson in Henry County, Ill., is paving the way for a new Love’s Travel Stop off of Interstate 80. With a special meeting held in April, Love’s asked the mayor to approve of permits as soon as possible. Although building may not commence until next year, Love’s is getting the ball rolling sooner than later.

The new site will include a restaurant, 10 fuel islands and a tire stop. The existing plaza has been closed for about six years. All indications point to no NIMBY resistance, so a tip of the cap to Atkinson, Ill.

City in Texas bans truck parking

Meanwhile in Killeen, Texas, the city council has recently approved of an ordinance amendment that prevents trucks from parking within 500 feet from residential areas. All 1 ton or heavier trucks are part of the new amendment.

According to the Killeen Daily Herald, a truck parking ban has always been in place on streets adjacent to residentially zoned areas. However, a loophole allowed trucks to park in some areas near neighborhoods. The latest amendment closed that loophole. The council voted in favor of the amendment 5-1.

Indiana city does not want land used for truck parking

Over in Hobart, Ind., city planners do not want a landowner to sell a portion of his property for truck parking. Just 40 miles away from Chicago lies the Key West Inn, which sounds much better than it is, according to TripAdvisor reviews.

At any rate, the hotel sits on a 2-acre lot. This lot will be split into two. The owner of the lot wants to sell the vacant portion for financial reasons, according to the Chicago Tribune. The city gave him permission to do this under one condition: no semitrailer parking. Apparently, trucks are parking there now, and the city is not too happy about it.

City planners advised the landowner that without the hotel as part of the vacant land, that second portion for sale would be considered a truck stop with semitrailers parked there. Currently, truck stops are banned in the area per city code.

Planning commission in Virginia town approves truck parking at convenience store

While Killen, Texas, and Hobart, Ind., are denying truckers much needed parking space, the fine folks in Fincastle, Va., are much more accepting of those need. Recently, the Botetourt County planning commission recommended approval to allow truck parking at a convenience store.

As the current law stands, Brugh’s Mill Country Store is not permitted to allow truck parking on its gravel lot, according to The Roanoke Times. Despite current law, the owner has allowed up to one hour of parking. Truckers receive a fair warning of the ordinance and subsequently run off the property if they overstay their welcome.

As The Roanoke Times points out:

The Virginia Department of Transportation closed the truck stop in Troutville at Exit 150 in 2014, leaving no substantial stops for about 75 miles between Ironto and Raphine. Exits in between, like Exit 156 to Brughs Mill Road, are starting to feel the pressure.

By unanimous decision, the commission voted to recommend approval for the convenience store’s request. Essentially, the store can continue to do what it has already been doing, which is permit limited parking. Not quite more parking, but narrowly escapes eliminating spaces with a ban.

Lack of parking causing problems in various forms

Two stories in April regarding truck parking have less to do with additional or fewer spaces, but have more to do with what happens when there are not enough spaces.

In Charlotte, N.C., WSOC-TV published a double whammy story: parking and ELDs. Essentially, more trucks in the area are parking along exit ramps. Why? You guessed it: the ELD mandate. Among the truckers interviewed, they all came to the same conclusion: more parking spaces.

Here’s a great quote from the story by a highway patrol officer:

“Knock on the doors, and say you gotta keep moving. Well, then they’re gonna be in federal violation,” said Ray Pierce with the North Carolina Highway Patrol. “Unfortunately, it’s a nationwide problem. There’s nowhere for them to rest.”

In Rio Rico, Ariz., the lack of truck parking has turned deadly. Literally.

Dereck Johnson, 37, of Orangeburg, S.C., is facing attempted murder charges after he stabbed a fellow trucker multiple times at a truck stop in Rio Rico. According to Nogales International, a dispute about a truck parking spot led to the stabbing.

We have reached the point where drivers are nearly killing each other, literally, over a parking spot. Not good.

New Pilot Flying J locations

The second quarter is off to a slower start than the first for the big truck stop chains. Although Love’s did not open any new stores in April, Pilot Flying J opened three new locations near the Permian Basin in West Texas:

  • 3752 US Highway 285 N, Orla, Texas (50 spaces)
  • 127 W State Highway 302, Kermit, Texas (25 spots)
  • 2400 S Bickley Ave., Pecos, Texas (9 spots)

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.