The Parking Zone – August 2018

August 31, 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.

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.

Texas town approves truck stop and parking

City council members in Belton, Texas, recently authorized rezoning that allows for the development of a convenience store that will include truck parking, according to a Belton Journal report.

In the report, a councilmember mentioned “that he was amazed at how many trucks he’s seen in the early morning on the way to the Austin airport.” Based on his observations, he believes the truck parking will be useful. The council agreed with a unanimous vote.

A city saw a problem, was presented with a solution, and adopted it. It really can be that easy.

Santa Fe saga over truck stop not over

You may recall from previous The Parking Zone entries stories about Santa Fe, N.M., rejecting plans for a new Pilot Flying J. The last report indicated that the county commission rejected PFJ’s bid. However, PFJ is not going away quietly.

According to Santa Fe New Mexican, PFJ will appeal the Santa Fe County Commission’s decision. Earlier this year, the commission voted 4-1 to reject the proposal after six hours of public testimony during a hearing with hundreds of residents.

The one trucking ally on the commission was Commissioner Robert Anaya. According to Santa Fe New Mexican, Anaya said “the trucking industry and truckers in general had been unfairly maligned by local opponents.”

If PFJ gets its way, Santa Fe will have 75 more truck parking spaces.

Florida’s Truck Parking Availability System not a solution

Straight from the Ocala StarBanner report:

“As the Florida Department of Transportation continues to address the need for truck parking along major state highways, a nearly $1.6 million project has installed the Truck Parking Availability System at four rest areas and two weigh stations in Marion and Sumter counties.”

Apparently, the solution to a lack of parking spaces in Florida is not to add more parking spaces. Rather, it’s to inform you what you already know: There’s no parking available.

What’s ironic is the fact that the millions of dollars states are spending on parking availability systems could be better spent on building more truck parking. It’s like a dietician giving an obese person a scale as the solution to losing weight.

Another truck parking survey … yawn

KTNV-TV recently reported on the preliminary results of a Nevada truck parking survey. You’ll be shocked what the survey revealed!

Just kidding. Truckers are parking illegally because of “the critically low number of available, legal parking spaces.” That’s something the industry has known for quite some time now.

Despite this common knowledge, the Nevada Department of Transportation needed another survey to persuade them to do something. KTNV-TV reports that project leaders expect to have a final plan in 2019. You know, four years after the first Jason’s Law survey results were revealed.

Better late than never, I suppose.

Oh, speaking of more surveys and reports, Trucker Path released its parking report. Long story short, it’s more of the same.

Chicago suburb rejects ‘trucking transportation center’

The village of Wheeling, Ill., voted 4-3 against a proposal that would have allowed JV Global Services to build a trucking transportation center with more than 100 parking spaces, according to the Daily Herald.

The proposed spot is just northwest of Chicago Executive Airport. According to the report, the center “would’ve provided truck drivers temporary parking between trips, minor maintenance and repairs, and office space for logistics businesses.”

Approximately 118 spaces would have been huge just outside of Chicago, but oh well.

New health clinic at Virginia truck stop

It may not be more parking, but it is certainly something we need to see at more truck stops. White’s Travel Center in Raphine, Va., will be adding a Carilion Clinic next year.

As WFXR-TV reported, one trucker pointed out that driving sick is part of the job, but finding health care on the road is nearly impossible.

“For many of the truck drivers, scheduling medical visits is not an option,” Bobby Berkstresser, owner of White’s Travel Center, told WFXR-TV. “This will provide them instant and convenient access to care without disrupting their busy travel schedule.”

Tip of the cap to Berkstresser for recognizing truckers’ needs and responding accordingly.

Midland, Texas, cracks down on illegal parking

Law enforcement officers are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to fining truckers for illegal parking in Midland, Texas. That might end soon.

KMID-TV reports that Midland’s current ordinance bans truck parking in residential and commercial spots. However, law enforcement can only fine truckers illegally parked in residential areas, allowing truckers parked at a nearby Walmart to kind of get away with it.

But that all ends on Oct. 1, when an amended ordinance will allow police to enforce the law on private commercial space. Find a legal space or get dinged $500.

City in Kansas one-ups Midland, Texas, ordinance

Not to be outdone, city council members in Olathe, Kan., voted to increase fines for truckers violating ordinances. By how much? An increase of nearly 1,700 percent!

Until recently, fines would cost truckers $30. After the council’s vote, that same fine has skyrocketed to $500, according to the Kansas City Star. The new fine schedule went into effect on Aug. 29.

From the Kansas City Star:

“…in many cases drivers are parking for hours because the businesses they are working with have limited time windows for pickups or deliveries, and federal law mandates the amount of time drivers can operate their vehicles without rest — and the nearest truck stop could be miles away.”

A problem has been recognized, but rather than find a solution, victims of the problem are being punished.

Alabama town votes YES for new truck stop

Finally some good news this month! Smiths Station, Ala., councilmembers approved of a proposed Love’s Travel Stop in the town.

The location is approved at the intersection of Lee Road 248 and Highway 280/431, according to WTVM-TV. Approximately 50 parking spaces are planned for the truck stop.

“It’s going to be a Love’s travel stop, and this will be an excellent venture on the 280/431 highway that comes through the city. It’s going to be a huge impact on our economic development as well as our city,” Smiths Station Mayor Bubba Copeland told WTVM.

That’s optimism from a city official we don’t hear often enough.

A state DOT with an actual solution (YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT!)

Yes, this news item is worthy of a BuzzFeed clickbait headline. The West Virginia Department of Transportation has plans to convert a damaged rest area along Interstate 77 into a truck parking area, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports.

You read that right. Not another survey or report. Not another parking availability system. Nope. An actual plan to add more truck parking spaces.

It’s not clear how many spaces since WVDOT is still in the early planning stages. However, even if it’s just 10 more spaces, it’s more than what many states are doing. Kudos to WVDOT for doing the correct thing.

New Love’s and PFJ locations

Five new truck stops have opened across the nation, adding more than 300 truck parking spaces to the infrastructure: two Love’s locations and three Pilot Flying J locations. Here they are:

  • Love’s near Interstate 2 and Hutto Road, Donna, Texas (94 parking spaces).
  • Love’s at  6457 Old Salem Road (Interstate 5, Exit 238), Millersburg, Ore. (72 spaces).
  • PFJ at 7990 State Road 60 E, Bartow, Fla. (38 spaces).
  • PFJ at 3145 Meteor Crater Road, Odessa, Texas (93 spaces).
  • PFJ at 9255 S. Rita Road, Tucson, Ariz. (9 spaces).
PrePass

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.