The Parking Zone – August 2021
September 1, 2021
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.
Indiana increasing truck parking
In mid-August, the Indiana Department of Transportation broke ground on a new welcome center on Interstate 65 at mile marker 231. The addition is just one of many projects increasing truck parking in the state.
According to INDOT, the southbound rest area will have nearly 100 more truck parking spaces than the one it is replacing, totaling 150 spaces. Northbound, there will be a total of 75 spaces. Furthermore, both rest areas will have separate trucker restroom facilities in the truck parking area, which is pretty cool.
This is all part of a larger plan worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars. Indiana is replacing welcome centers at entry points. Unfortunately, no trucking parking will be available during construction, but good things come to those who wait.
Meanwhile, an Indiana town cracks down on parking
City officials in Merrillville, Ind., have had enough with poor parking practices, and concerns are not limited to truck parking.
In response to crumbling parking lots in Merrillville, a council member wants to prohibit landowners from adding more businesses to a property with bad parking lots. A lot of these parking lots are being used for long-term parking, which is not legal in the city, according to The Northwest Indiana Times.
Apparently, some business owners have been allowing truck parking on their lots. The city is thinking about approaching those business owners and putting a stop to it. This serves as a reminder: Just because a business does not care about truck parking doesn’t mean the city will also turn a blind eye.
More truck parking – for electric trucks?
While drivers of diesel trucks struggle to find a parking spot, at least one company is accommodating the relatively few electric trucks on the road.
WattEV Inc. recently announced that it is receiving a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission to build the state’s first solar-powered truck stop dedicated to heavy-duty electric trucks. There may not be a large demand right now, but this a “chicken or the egg” scenario. Some think electric trucks will not be feasible without a charging infrastructure. However, charging infrastructure investors want the demand first. WattEV appears to be addressing that paradox.
This first location set in Bakersfield. WattEV is in the planning stages for similar projects in San Bernardino and Gardena in Southern California. Both of these electric truck stops will serve the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach and the warehouses fed by goods coming through the port. Trucks at the ports will be among the first to go electric considering the state government is essentially demanding it.
When will these electric truck stops branch out of California? Probably no time soon.
Truck stop proposal in Illinois town
There is nothing normal about this proposal for a Love’s Travel Stop in Normal, Ill. So far, everything appears to be going smoothly.
According to WGLT, Love’s and an RV park next door is in the works in north Normal. If all goes well, the truck stop will be off of Interstate 55 and North Main Street. WGLT reports that the city planner has said it is the “perfect” location for a truck stop. That is a nice change in attitude compared with cities that would call such a proposal a fatal disaster.
The planning commission is scheduled to have a public hearing on the matter on Sept. 9.
Also in Illinois, no truck parking – including RVs
Usually when a town bans truck parking, it hypocritically exempts RVs. That is not the case with one Illinois town.
The Daily Herald is reporting that South Barrington officials are nearly complete with their news truck parking rules. Essentially, the new rule will prohibit truck parking on any residential property. Exceptions will be made for trucks parked in enclosed garages. Currently, truck parking is not allowed on residential properties smaller than five acres.
However, that new rule will apply to RVs as well, something we do not typically see despite RVs creating just as much as a visual distraction as any truck. RVs can park in a residential area for 48 hours for loading purposes. If the new rule passes, RV owners can use that exemption only four times a year.
Truck parking bans are never a good idea, but if a city is going to do it, at least stay consistent.
Massachusetts town issues truck parking permit
It would be nice if towns that ban truck parking could at least give permission for parking in limited circumstances. That is exactly what Woburn in Massachusetts is doing.
Recently, the Woburn City Council granted local trucking company Lightening Express permission to park eight trucks overnight. One condition is that the trucks stay away from residential areas near the site, according to the Daily Times Chronicle.
There are many more stipulations that were agreed upon. However, the city tried to restrict the company’s business hours, which was unacceptable to the company owners. The council eventually abandoned that requirement. In other words, a private company and local government worked together, negotiated and came to terms acceptable to all parties. What a novel concept!
Kentucky TravelCenters of America temporarily closed
Bad news: The TA in Walton, Ky., is closed. Good news: It will be better when it reopens.
The Parking Zone received some road rumors about a TA in Walton being closed. Specifically, doors closed on July 31 and will remain closed for about a year. This includes truck parking. Is this true? Yes, it is.
A TA spokesperson told Land Line that the Walton location is closed for renovations. However, drivers can still go to the TA in Florence, Ky., which is only about 6 miles north on Interstate 75 off of Exit 181. Renovations will be complete early next year.
“We are focused on improving the overall guest experience and are starting to refresh and remodel many of our travel centers,” a TA spokesperson said.
New Big Three locations
Two of the Big Three truck stop chains – Love’s, Pilot and TravelCenters of America – opened a total of three new locations in August, a slight improvement from the single location opened in July. In total, nearly 200 much-needed truck parking spaces were added to the infrastructure:
- Love’s at 335 Highway 594 (Interstate 20, Exit 124) in Monroe, La. (90 truck parking spaces).
- Love’s at 1900 Busse Road (state Route 83, Exit Pratt Boulevard) in Elk Grove Village, Ill. (17 spaces).
- TA Express at 32501 W. 200th St. (Interstate 35, Exit 205) in Edgerton, Kan. (90 spaces).
Make sure to check out the print edition of The Parking Zone in the latest Land Line Magazine issue for truck parking news not mentioned above. LL