The Parking Zone – August 2019
August 30, 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, ranging from proposed legislation regarding fines to new truck stops.
New rest area in Oregon … but not for you
The Oregon Department of Transportation has recently opened a brand new rest area off of Interstate 5 called the Siskiyou Rest Area. ODOT is pretty stoked about it.
In the news release, ODOT seems proud of the $12 million facility that took more than 20 years to build. I would have left out the 20-year development part. That does not seem very efficient. I digress.
At any rate, it looks really cool if you are driving a passenger vehicle. Commercial trucks more than 20,000 pounds are prohibited. The one demographic that needs more rest areas is banned.
Lawmaker visits truck stop
A common theme in the Parking Zone series is NIMBY. Local governments are persuaded by ill-informed (are they ill-informed? Some of them seem to be quite well-spoken, even if we disagree with them…we can’t make blanket assessments about these folks – GG) residents to reject a proposed truck stop. Recently, one lawmaker visited a truck stop to understand their importance.
U.S. Rep.Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., visited the Love’s Travel Stop in Binghamton, N.Y., to get a better understanding of how travel plazas work. Although this was mostly a photo op shaking hands with constituents, Love’s manager of government affairs Tom Kirby laid down some logic while Brindisi was there.
“We appreciate that Rep. Brindisi took time to visit our location and meet with our customers and our employees to learn more about the fuel retailing industry and how we serve both the local community and the nation’s professional truck drivers,” Kirby said in a statement. “Rep. Brindisi was able to see firsthand our commitment to the communities in which we operate. We commend Congressman Brindisi for exhibiting a real understanding of how federal policy directly affects the daily operations of our business, our employees and our customers.”
Anytime a local lawmaker is faced with a truck stop proposal, I highly suggest he or she does the same. It’s easy to turn down something you know very little about.
More paid parking available
There are two schools of thought when it comes to truck parking: all parking should be free or paid parking is a good way to ensure you have a spot. If you fall into the former, I have bad news.
Jubitz off of Interstate 5 at Exit 307 near Portland International Airport is offering some reserved parking spaces. Again, this is good news if you are not opposed to paid parking. Even if you are, it’s 18 reserved spaces with 250 free spaces.
Some may argue reserved spaces may account for a low percentage of spaces now, but what’s stopping truck stops from continually increasing the amount of paid parking? Your guess is as good as mine, but as long as demand far outweighs supply, capitalism will rule in favor of paid parking. Time will tell.
Walmart parking fines in Kentucky
Another theme that has been creeping up lately is Walmart parking. Based on calls and emails I get from truckers, whether or not any given Walmart will allow trucks to park on the lot is a roll of a dice nowadays. Add a location in Kentucky to your “do not park” list.
According to WKYT-TV, the Walmart in Willamsburg, Ky., off of Interstate 75 at the state border has hired a company to essentially patrol its parking lot. If they find a trucker parked on the lot, the company will boot the window (also known as a barnacle) and hit the trucker with a $500 fine. If the driver does not pay up within an hour, the truck gets towed.
Apparently, this is an update to a Facebook video I featured in July’s Parking Zone, which shows a trucker at a Kentucky Walmart getting a barnacle and truckers upset with the company representative responsible for the penalties. Now, we have the details.
A trucker interviewed by WKYT said he had bought $130 worth of stuff at Walmart. Additionally, he pointed out that the nearby Pilot Flying J truck stop was full (shocker).
The enforcement company had no comment and Walmart hung up on the station. Way to own it.
Not wanted: a truck stop
A community meeting in Plymouth, Pa., truly highlights how the public perceives truck stops, putting them in the same category as roundabouts. 😱
The Citizen’s Voice is reporting the community groups listed off the good and bad within the town. Also listed are things the citizens do and do not want. On the “Do want” list is stuff like a community center and medical facility. The “Do not want” list includes roundabouts and a truck stop.
Bigger fines in Clark County, Nevada
Commissioners in Clark County, Nevada, home of Las Vegas, approved legislation that would increase existing fines for trucks parked in residential neighborhoods, according to The Nevada Independent.
Now, trucks illegally parked in the county will face a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for each subsequent offense. Truckers will also receive a 72-hour notice to get out. After that, the truck is getting towed.
Metro Police, county code enforcement officers and the constable’s office are allowed to hand out the fines to illegally parked truckers.
Let’s hope they cure the disease rather than treat the symptom by adding some more truck parking spaces in the area. That’s why truckers have to to park in undesirable places.
Possible parking ban expansion in Minneapolis
Currently, Minneapolis has a truck parking ban in residential areas. Pretty standard procedure nowadays. However, the city is looking into expanding the ban elsewhere.
According to KSTB-TV, Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins is proposing that current truck parking ban extend to areas beyond just residential neighborhoods. As of press publication time, the details of Jenkin’s idea are unknown.
The Minnesota Trucking Association chimed in.
“We think the city of Minneapolis is making a huge mistake,” John Hausladen, president of MTA, told KSTB. “There’s a severe truck parking shortage across the nation. Whatever they do is just going to push on the whole system.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Michigan town gets SECOND truck stop
While some towns can’t handle a single truck stop, Watertown Township, Mich., is getting ready for its second, according to the Lansing State Journal.
Love’s is planning a new location just down the road from an existing Pilot Flying J near the intersection of Interstate 96 and Interstate 69. More than 100 truck parking spaces will be included at the new Love’s.
The new location will open in January.
New NIMBY situation in Pennsylvania
While a township in Michigan is getting two truck stops, a township in Pennsylvania. A proposed truck stop in Williams Township, Pa., is generating the typical responses, according to a report by The Morning Call.
A truck stop may soon happen off of Interstate 78 in the town on Morgan Hill Road. Plans include nine acres. Originally, 40 truck parking spaces were included. However, the township requested 30 instead of 40.
It gets worse.
The township also requires a three-hour parking limit on trucks, essentially prohibiting overnight parking.
Sweet compromise. (that’s sarcasm)
The Big Apple wants a bigger bite
As if driving through New York City isn’t bad enough, state lawmakers want to fine truckers more for parking illegally. Currently making its way through the New York State Legislature, S3215 wants to nearly double truck parking fines.
If passed, trucks parking on residential streets overnight will be fined $400 on the first offense, up from the current $250 fine. Subsequent offenses within six months of the first will cost you $500 each.
A separate bill, S2761, will add a $1,000 fine to trucks parked or unattended on streets of a city with a population of 1,000,000 or more, i.e., New York City. As the law stands as of press publication time, the city can have a truck towed, but with no other penalties attached. This bill allows the city to attach a $1,000 fine on top of the tow.
There is one exception: If the truck is part of a film or television production sanctioned by the state. Priorities.
Both bills have passed the Senate and only await passage by the Assembly before hitting the governor’s desk.
New Love’s truck stop locations
Of the Big Three truck stop chains, Love’s was the only one to launch new locations in August, adding nearly 300 truck parking spaces to the infrastructure:
- Highway 511 and Highway 48 in Brownsville, Texas (39 truck parking spaces).
- Interstate 80 and State Street in Atkinson, Ill. (137 spaces).
- Highway 27 in Lake Wales, Fla. (114 spaces).