The Parking Zone – December 2019
December 31, 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.
Dost thou have parking for thy carriage?
At the Gallops Truck Stop near Goshen, Ind., the answer is “yea.”
You’re probably wondering what’s with the medieval language. It’s because the new truck stop at U.S. 6 and SR 3 is a castle-themed building. I can’t make this stuff up.
In addition to being a giant truck stop, Gallops also has a hotel for truckers who would rather sleep in a bigger bed for a night.
Nearly three years in the making, the truck stop is finally open. Maybe there’s less NIMBY resistance if you package a truck stop in a fun theme.
State government offers new truck parking
As if a castle-themed truck stop isn’t bizarre enough, how about the government opening more truck parking spaces? Again, I can’t make this stuff up.
The Lawn Service Plaza in Lebanon County, Pa., has added 77 truck parking spaces along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. According to a news release from the turnpike authority, the lot “features fencing … and lighting to make it a safe and accessible destination for drivers looking to rest between stints behind the wheel.”
The westbound plaza is located at mile marker 258.8 and is open 24/7.
Local government denies new truck parking
Meanwhile, at the local level in the same state, the Manheim Township Zoning Hearing Board recently denied a zoning request for a new truck stop, according to LNP.
This was certainly case of NIMBYs hard at work. According to LNP, about 200 residents showed up to the two-and-a-half-hour hearing, although only 18 of those residents offered public comments.
From the report:
“Others raised similar concerns with respect to traffic, as well as noise, air and light pollution. Many felt the mere presence of diesel pumps and newfound parking for semitrailers would attract more trucks on Route 272.”
The request was struck down with a 3-0 vote.
Potential new parking spots at Snoqualmie Pass
Truckers who drive through Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state are well aware of the parking situation. There may be some relief by 2021.
According to the Daily Record, Love’s Travel Stops is planning a new location off of Exit 70 on Interstate 90 in Easton, Wash. Construction is scheduled for this coming summer. Completion is expected by spring 2021.
According to the plan, 117 overnight truck parking spaces are included. Let’s hope this project doesn’t get derailed.
Love’s project in Tennessee still underway
Needless to say, Love’s has been extremely busy with new location projects in 2019. According to The Manchester Times, Love’s proposed site in Manchester, Tenn., is still looking good.
Although Love’s wanted to begin construction on the new site in 2018, the project has not gone anywhere. The Oklahoma-based truck stop company recently submitted an application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is accepting public comments through Jan. 6.
It appears the holdup has been more technical than NIMBY-fueled. With that said, truckers should hopefully expect more parking at Exit 117 off of Interstate 24 in the not-too-distant future.
Alabama residents protest truck stop
Anti-truck stop residents in Fultondale, Ala., were vocal about a proposed truck stop, WBRC-TV reports.
After residents were told a truck stop has been proposed near Interstate 65, many immediately resisted the idea, including the mayor of Fultondale.
“I don’t know what a truck stop would bring to our community,” Mayor Jim Lowery told WBRC. “Nothing positive that I know of.”
Nothing? How about jobs and tax revenue?
Plans for the truck stop have just been proposed, but I wouldn’t count on any approval from the city.
Love’s is on a roll
In addition to making progress with new locations in Washington state and Alabama, Love’s recently received the green light in Iowa as well.
According to the Muscatine Journal, the Muscatine City Council has approved of a rezoning ordinance for a proposed Love’s truck stop in the town. Muscatine Journal reports that this is “despite requests from neighbors that the project be denied.”
If all plans are approved, the truck stop will have room for about 50 trucks, which is a bit on the smaller side for Love’s. Still better than nothing.
Before anyone gets too excited, the council only approved to change the zoning in the area. Love’s still will need separate approval for construction. With some local residents already expressing objections, the fate of the project can go either way.
Large travel plaza coming to Kansas soon
Thanks to some federal funding (seriously), a busy truck corridor in the middle of the country will receive some more truck parking.
The Hays Daily News is reporting that a $40 million travel plaza off of Exit 157 on Interstate 70 in Hays, Kan., will soon become a reality. According to the report:
The 40-acre project sits at the crossroads of two major traffic corridors, namely east-west I-70 and the planned $10.8 million Northwest Business Corridor. The Business Corridor, which was recently awarded $6.5 million in federal construction money, is being designed as a 55 mph bypass around Hays for trucks and superloads on heavily trafficked north-south U.S. 183 highway.
Pretty sweet deal. Even sweeter: 125 truck parking spaces.
Construction is scheduled for April or May and is expected to take six to seven months.
Also coming soon in Kansas …
… a new TravelCenters of America location. According to a news release, a TA Express will open in Edgerton, Kan., in mid-2020.
The exact number of truck parking spaces is not known as of publication, but we do know the truck stop will sit on 12 acres off of Exit 205 on Interstate 35.
TravelCenters of America does not open as many new locations compared with Love’s and Pilot Flying J, so when a new location opens, it’s kind of a big deal. Hopefully, this is a sign of a great year for truck parking in 2020.
Surrey, British Columbia, ends 2019 with a bang
I’m saving the best story of the month – and possibly the year – for last. It’s a story of industry and local government coming together and reaching an agreement.
Back in 2016, I wrote about a truck parking oasis in Surrey, British Columbia. At the time, a 77-acre truck parking facility proposal had been withdrawn after residents voiced their concerns. It was a classic case of NIMBYs ruining everything.
Fast forward to the present. On Dec. 17, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum announced that six initiatives that will create 1,700 truck parking spaces will begin shortly. That isn’t a typo. One THOUSAND and seven hundred truck parking spaces.
“Despite previous attempts to bring adequate truck parking in Surrey, genuine, long-term solutions never came about,” McCallum said in a statement. “The work done by the Truck Parking Task Force in the past 12 months changes that. Beginning next spring, the first of six initiatives recommended in the report will be carried out with the remaining initiatives rolled out by the end of 2020.”
To say this is a significant step forward in truck parking would be an understatement. At the very least, this is a perfect template for other cities in North America to model its freight corridor. It took several years of negotiations, but neither side gave up. Perhaps it’s the cliché Canadian spirit of compromise, but I have faith that American cities can also step up to the plate.
New Love’s and PFJ locations
Of the Big Three truck stops, Love’s and Pilot Flying opened new locations in December. Including the reopening of a location, four locations have added more than 300 truck parking spaces to the infrastructure:
- Love’s at 6023 Alum Creek Drive (off of Interstate 270) in Obetz, Ohio (64 trucking parking spaces).
- Love’s at 6716 Highway 171 (off of Interstate 30) in Malvern, Ark. (79 spaces).
- Love’s at 1501 33rd Ave. (off of Interstate 5) in Tacoma, Wash. (83 spaces) Reopening after closure in 2018 for rebuild.
- PFJ at 11053 Riverside Drive (near I-5 and State Route 60) in Jurupa Valley, Calif. (107 spaces).