The Parking Zone – April 2019
April 30, 2019
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.
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.
Another parking app
While the parking shortage continues, plenty of entrepreneurs are trying to cash in on the problem. The latest piece of technology to hit the market is TruckPark, which officially launches on May 6.
According to its website, TruckPark “is an app that allows truck drivers to reserve parking spaces on-demand.” What people fail to understand is that parking apps and notification signs are just curing the symptoms, not the disease.
You know the parking problem is not going away when private investors are dumping buckets of money into truck parking technology. If they thought for a second that the government will step in to solve the problem, they would not invest all this money. Rather, they see an opportunity to make a lot of money.
No parking equals big bucks for tech start-up companies.
Local government in Indiana wary of truck stop
A Fuel Mart truck stop is being proposed off of U.S. 50 in Aurora, Ind. Before it can move forward, developers need zoning approval from the city council. This is when things usually get combative.
In this case, local officials are only concerned about traffic congestion in the area, according to Eagle Country 99.3. Fortunately, that’s the only concern. If that problem is solved, it looks like the Fuel Mart will get the green light. Updates coming up in the next month or two.
New truck stop coming in Colorado
Looks like the city of Antonito in Colorado will be getting a new truck stop later this year, according to a Center Post-Dispatch report.
Really not much to say at the moment other than the truck stop will be located off of U.S. Highway 285. The Center Post-Dispatch reports it will sit on 14 acres and “is being built for both trucks and cars and will care for the motoring needs of travelers and locals.”
Plenty of room for parking.
North Dakota town welcomes new truck stop
Some towns resist truck stops by regurgitating a bunch of misinformation. Other towns understand the reality of a truck stop. Drayton, N.D., falls under the latter category.
Love’s will be opening a new location in Drayton, according to the Grand Forks Herald, and will be off of Interstate 29. The local report also mentions right away that it will add more than two dozen jobs.
That’s right. The angle of the story is how great a new truck stop is for the town, not about pollution, crime or safety. The mayor told the reporter that Love’s approached them and the town is “really excited about because it will bring a bunch of jobs to town.”
Southwest states get federal money for truck parking
That’s right. The federal government is finally stepping up to the plate and giving Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas $6.85 million to address truck parking along the Interstate 10 corridor.
Don’t get too excited. The money is not for more truck parking spaces. It’s another Federal Highway Administration grant for the mostly useless signs that notify drivers how many parking spots are (or are not) available.
Millions and millions of dollars have been poured into this program. How many parking spaces could have been created with all this money?
Chicago trucking company struggles to use its own property
This is a new one for The Parking Zone. Usually, we hear about city councils opposing a truck stop company from setting up shop in their jurisdictions. This one is about resistance to an already existing lot that already houses trucks.
According to Journal & Topics, a trucking company in the Chicago area has “an existing private truck parking lot.” However, the lot is apparently not in compliance with city rules and regulations, and the company is having a heck of a time.
After in operation for three years, city officials found out the company never received a special-use permit to operate, so the company applied for the permit that would allow parking for around 50 trucks.
After the city’s aldermen kept giving reasons not to grant the permit, the company’s architect just removed the plans from consideration. Even private parking on a private lot is subjects to bureaucracy shenanigans.
Drug dealers and prostitutes and transients, OH MY!
It seems like every time a truck stop wants to open a new location, at least one resident has a misinformed reason why the city should stop it. This was highlighted explicitly in a letter to the editor in the Moab Sun News.
Explaining his opposition to the Utah School and Institutional Trust Land Administration’s land sale to a truck stop operator, a resident made quite a bold statement:
“SITLA’s sale of property to an operation that is known to attract drug dealers, prostitutes and transients will result in an adversary conflict between SITLA and the local residents.”
Apparently, the truck stop operator interested in the area is Love’s Travel Stops, one of the Big Three truck stop corporations known for clean facilities. This person hears “truck stop” and immediately goes to the land of Sodom and Gomorrah.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
Illinois city PAYING a truck stop to come to town
While Utah residents are spouting off tales of sin and anarchy, one town in Illinois is so eager for a truck stop that it might actually pay money for one. Kind of.
Accord to the Northwest Herald, the McHenry city council is considering a $1 million incentive agreement for a retail complex development that will include a Thorntons truck stop. Estimated to cost $15 million to construct the development, the city is mulling over a 20-year incentive that rebates sales taxes up to $1 million.
OK, so the city isn’t exactly giving a truck stop $1 million to come in, but it has no problem giving up $1 million for a complex it knows will include a truck stop. Why? Because the city knows the sales tax revenue the truck stop will generate will be more than enough to cover those costs. It’s not rocket science.
Oklahoma to add parking spaces
Let’s end this edition of The Parking Zone on a high note. While the federal government is too busy with redundant studies and worthless apps and signs, some state governments are actually doing something useful. Oklahoma is one of those states.
I read some reports that the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority will be adding 250 truck parking spaces at the halfway point between Tulsa and Oklahoma. I had to hear this straight from a government official, as it sounds too good to be true.
According to Jack Damrill, an Oklahoma Turnpike Authority spokesman, the Stroud rest area will be undergoing renovations. Currently, there are only 75 truck parking spaces in Stroud, which fill up quickly. Once renovations are completed, two new travel plazas will have a total of 250 truck parking spaces.
And that is how you solve your local truck parking problem. Thanks, OTA!
News from the Big Three truck stops
Pilot Flying J has launched its new mobile app, which includes:
- Ability to call Pilot Flying J Truck Care at the push of a button.
- Easily plan routes with improved location listings and saved preferences.
- Reduce time searching for parking with Prime Parking reservations.
- Mobile fueling.
- Shower reservations.
- Viewing saved offers.
- New message inbox and transaction history simplifies doing business from the road.
Meanwhile, TravelCenters of America was preparing for its busiest time of the year: summer. The truck stop company held a national hiring event to beef up its staff. This ensures that service doesn’t suffer with vacation travelers.
Only two new locations were opened in April, both from Love’s, totaling more than 150 additional truck parking spaces:
- 3925 County Fair Drive (off Interstate 72, Exit 138) in Decatur, Ill. (51 truck parking spaces).
- 100 Marguerite St. (off Interstate 5 and Highway 20, Exit 578) in Williams, Calif. (103 spaces).