The Parking Zone – February 2019
February 28, 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
Winter weather highlights parking problem
Many Americans experienced a harsh winter in February, especially those in the Northeast. Travel bans left truckers stranded, many with no place to park. One trucking company is looking for a solution.
According to WKBW-TV in Buffalo, N.Y., trucking company Relco Systems in Lockport, N.Y., is responding to an incident that had one of its truckers turned away from an overcrowded truck stop. When asked about the problem, state authorities said truckers had plenty of time to find parking before the ban.
Not satisfied with that response, Relco wants to work with local and state officials to create a master list of alternative locations for parking. If executed, this could be a valuable tool for truckers in New York during another major snow storm. Let’s hope this happens and other states follow suit.
Speaking of winter weather woes, a huge shout out to the volunteers helping truckers mentioned below:
This rocks! (pun intended)
Volunteers from Eagle River Valley Food Bank are out here at the emergency truck parking lot making sure stranded big rig drivers have something to eat and drink as they wait for I-70 to reopen following the massive rockslide. #4Colorado pic.twitter.com/rnJfpuh1sC
— Matt Kroschel (@Matt_Kroschel) February 5, 2019
Texas and Pennsylvania looking into truck parking solutions
Earlier this month, the Texas Department of Transportation conducted a statewide truck parking study. Additionally, TxDOT is assessing current highway design and how it affects the movement of freight.
More specifically, the event is one of several workshops that gathers input from shippers, drivers, logistics professionals and facility operators. It’s hard to get excited about studies and workshops about a well-established issue. With that said, Texas is looking to do something beyond messaging signs.
Meanwhile, PennDOT is taking a look at responses from industry stakeholders about the parking problem. PennDOT had asked for input on the possibility of public-private partnerships being used as a potential solution. That could be a good precedent to set for other states.
California town not even considering truck stop
During a council meeting, officials in Bishop, Calif., discussed the issues of trucks driving through town. The Eastern Sierra town has noticed an increase in truck traffic. So how can the city accommodate the truckers?
By moving them to the left lane. This is ironic, considering most areas want trucks out of the left lane. However, Bishop will conduct a pilot study that directs trucks to the left for the sake of pedestrians.
What about parking? One councilmember brought up the needs for “stop-off facilities.” A 6-acre site accommodating 110 trucks was recommended. However, it would take the city 100 years to break even. In that case, that option seems highly unlikely.
Illinois town prepares for new truck stop across from existing truck stop
While some towns are trying to stop the building of its first truck stop, one Illinois town is poised to open another one directly across the street from an existing truck stop.
Oglesby, Ill., has approved a Speedway truck stop. The new truck stop will be directly across from the Love’s truck stop near Interstate 39. Oglesby is looking forward to a nice bump in revenue.
Proposed truck stop that wasn’t a truck stop is now a truck stop
Yeah, that headline is confusing. Earlier this year, Williamsport, Md., councilmembers determined that a proposed gas station/restaurant is not a truck stop. Opponents wanted the gas station to be labeled as a truck stop so that it would require a hearing for them go NIMBY on.
However, a circuit court reversed that decision and determined that the proposed plan is by definition a truck stop, according to Herald-Mail Media. Developers argued that it is not a truck stop because it will not include long-term parking, truck repair or overnight accommodations for truckers. Furthermore, there will only be four truck parking spaces.
According to the court, all it takes to be labeled as a truck stop is selling fuel for trucks, ANY truck parking and an eating facility. They are playing fast and loose with definition in Williamsport. Developers can still appeal. Let’s hope they do and win.
Ozark aldermen get truck parking
Like so many other towns throughout the nation, Ozark, Mo., is having an issue with too many trucks parking in the city. Instead of banning trucks, Ozark’s Board of Alderman are taking a more pragmatic approach.
KY3-TV is reporting the city administrator wants to hear from both sides on the topic, including truckers. The administrator said that he understands the problems trucker are facing and wants to help.
Even the local media has a healthy understanding. From the report:
Those tractor-trailers are the lifeblood of our country’s goods and services, delivering 70 percent of America’s freight and accounting for $671 billion worth of our manufactured and retail products. But as the industry has grown, so has the need to find a place for overnight parking.
Tip of the cap to the Ozark community.
Fate of two Indiana rest stops in limbo
Last month, I reported that the Indiana DOT announced the closure of two rest areas in Dale, Ind., off of Interstate 64 at mile marker 59. Well, maybe not.
According to The Herald, public outcry has the state reconsidering those closures. An INDOT spokesperson told The Herald that nothing is off the table at this point. In fact, the department is keeping the rest areas open until it determines a final plan.
Turns out, this could be a win-win situation for truckers. If the rest areas stay open, parking remains. If they close, INDOT is actually considering turning the area into a truck parking-only lot.
New Love’s, Pilot Flying J and TravelCenters locations
Oof! Not a good month. Between Love’s Travel Stops, Pilot Flying J and TravelCenters of America, exactly zero new locations were opened in February. Maybe we’ll see more in March. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯