The Parking Zone – June 2020
June 30, 2020
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.
Truck parking bills
Since its introduction in March, there has been very little action with HR6104. It was referred to committee on March 9 and has picked up seven co-sponsors. HR6104 is the truck parking bill that allocates $755 million specifically to adding free truck parking capacity. You can read the details here. The lack of action should not be too concerning considering Congress has had to focus on more pressing issues lately.
On the other hand, HR2 is seeing a lot of action. It’s a giant highway funding bill that will score a lot of points with politicians seeking reelection in November. This is the bill everyone is watching.
You may recall that the highway bill was formerly HR7095. In that version, Section 1308 was dedicated to truck parking funding similar to HR6104. The new version of the highway bill, HR2, keeps that section (same number) and actually improves on it. Section 1308 in HR7095 did not include a provision to ensure that new parking spaces from dedicated funding would be free of charge. Section 1308 of HR2 now includes that provision. Everything else is mostly the same, including the allocation of $250 million for fiscal year 2013.
HR2 is still in the early phases and is likely to change. At present, OOIDA has withdrawn its support for the bill, due to the inclusion of a “poison pill” amendment that would increase the minimum liability insurance to $2 million. As of publication, there are 129 co-sponsors, 100% of which are Democrats. In other words, if HR2 is to get signed into law, changes will need to be made. That could mean a better or worse Section 1308. Right now, Section 1308 is a good start for truck parking.
Arizona DOT’s 511 truck parking feature
Truckers driving through Arizona have another tool to find parking. The Arizona Department of Transportation recently announced a new feature on its Arizona Traveler Information 511 website regarding truck parking.
The new feature allows truckers to see how many spaces are available at each rest area, according to an ADOT news release. Click on the “Map Legend” box on the right side of the screen and check the box next to “Rest Areas” to bring up the rest areas on the map. Clicking on a rest area location will show details including the total number of truck spaces.
There are 430 truck parking spaces at Arizona’s 27 rest areas. It’s not more parking, but at least you will know where to (or not to) go.
Long wait for Illinois truck stop
A Thorntons truck stop is still in the works in La Salle, Ill. According to The Times, this has been in the news since January 2019. Sure enough, this was mentioned in The Parking Zone in the March/April 2019 edition of Land Line Magazine.
Initially, the truck stop was to open last fall. It looks like the delay stems from a need for reconfiguration at the intersection where the truck stop will be located. That intersection is Route 351 and Civic Road, across from an existing Flying J.
Recently, the La Salle City Council approved of two resolutions that will get construction of the intersection underway. Let’s hope this expedites an already long-delayed project.
Kansas town approves proposed truck stop
A new truck stop may be coming to Concordia, Kan. The Blade-Empire is reporting that the city commission has approved to authorize the mayor to sign a development agreement with 4 Kids Properties.
The company sounds like it builds playgrounds, but the deal is actually for a truck stop. The proposed truck stop will be at 2087 North 145th Road, which is off Highway 81 in northern Kansas. From the Blade-Empire story:
As stated in the agreement, 4 Kids Properties desires to support local and regional interstate commerce by adequately servicing large over-the-road truck and delivery vans with a truck stop, convenience store, fueling station and restaurant.
Even better, this will not likely end up being a situation like in La Salle, Ill. The agreement requires the truck stop to begin operations by December. You have to love the urgency.
Arizona NIMBYs losing battle?
It doesn’t seem to happen often, but a city may go against the wishes of vocal opposition of a proposed truck stop. This is an update to the saga in Glendale, Ariz.
Last month, The Parking Zone mentioned how NIMBYs are trying to stop a truck stop from being built in Glendale. At the time, the city was going to hold a public hearing regarding rezoning that will allow the proposed Love’s to proceed.
That planning commission happened, and the NIMBYs showed up. The meeting lasted nearly five hours and was “rowdy,” according to The Arizona Republic. Despite the opposition, the commission voted 4-2 to recommend the city council approve of the rezoning request.
It’s a good start for Love’s, but there’s still a long way to go. From here, Love’s needs the blessing of the city council, which is looking to be a steep uphill battle.
Wyoming makes a big mistake
Early into the pandemic, Pennsylvania taught other states a lesson: Don’t shut down rest areas. It caught a lot of flak for that and quickly reversed that decision. Wyoming must not have received the memo.
On June 5, the Wyoming Department of Transportation announced it will close 10 rest areas throughout the state. The move is an effort to reduce operational costs due to budgetary shortfalls. Closures include:
- Lusk on U.S. 18.
- Guernsey on U.S. 26.
- Greybull on U.S. 14-16-20.
- Moorcroft on Interstate 90.
- Star Valley on U.S. 89.
- Ft. Steele on Interstate 80.
- Sundance on Interstate 90.
- Upton on U.S. 16.
- Orin Junction on Interstate 25.
- Chugwater on Interstate 25.
The closures will remain in effect through Sept. 30, which is the end of the fiscal year. However, there was some strategy in choosing which rest areas to close.
“Although these rest areas will close, motorists will still have access to facilities in neighboring communities,” WYDOT Director Luke Reiner said in a statement. “Each of the rest areas that are closing are within a reasonable distance of a town that has facilities for the public.”
Arizona DOT adds truck parking
Meanwhile in Arizona, the state Department of Transportation is taking a different approach: adding truck parking capacity.
On June 10, ADOT announced a project at the Interstate 40 Meteor Crater rest area in northern Arizona. The expanded project will nearly double the truck parking spaces at the rest area. Currently, there are 65 truck parking spaces. ADOT will add 32 spaces to the westbound facility and 24 spaces to the eastbound facility. The rest areas are between Flagstaff and Winslow.
This is not the first such project for ADOT. Recently, the state added 38 truck parking spaces to the I-40 Haviland rest area in northwestern Arizona. That’s west of Kingman between mile markers 22 and 23.
Add this to the above-mentioned truck parking feature on its 511 map, and a tip of the cap is in order for ADOT.
More good stuff coming out of Arizona
Arizona popped up a lot in June truck parking news. This fourth Arizona entry is another positive one.
A truck stop is being proposed in Cochise County, Ariz. According to the county website, a rezoning application has been submitted for a truck stop off of Highway 191 north of Douglas. The county states the application includes a 4,000-square-foot convenience store, four passenger vehicle pumps, four diesel truck pumps, showers, restrooms and truck parking.
The rezoning was postponed and will resume in July. Stay tuned.
Michigan rest area closure
This item comes via a news tip I received. Some Canadian drivers may be aware of a rest area closure on Interstate 94 around mile marker 160 going eastbound. This is a big deal considering it is the last rest area going east into the Detroit area and Canada.
Sure, there are a few truck stops along the way, but with a rest area closure, those parking spaces are filling quickly. From Chelsea, it’s about an hour to get to the border and approximately 20 minutes before the first truck stop in Canada off of the 401 Highway.
So here’s the deal: it’s a drainage issue. The Michigan Department of Transportation said it will remain closed through August. This is temporary and not COVID-19-related. If you’re driving into Canada using this route, prepare for sparse parking and make sure you have plenty of fuel.
New Love’s and TravelCenters of America truck parking locations
Similar to the situation in both April and May, Love’s and TA Express opened a total of six new locations, adding more than 600 (!) parking spaces:
- Love’s at 11700 Fort Campbell Blvd. (off of Interstate 24, Exit 86) in Oak Grove, Ky. (101 truck parking spaces).
- Love’s at 11151 Highway 280E (off of Interstate 16, Exit 143) in Ellabell, Ga. (97 spaces).
- Love’s at 13820 Highway 641 N. (off of Interstate 40, Exit 126) in Holladay, Tenn. (124 spaces).
- Love’s at 482 Tree Farm Rd. (off of Interstate 70, Exit 175) in New Florence, Mo. (89 spaces).
- TA Express at 2615 N.W. Stallings Drive (off of Interstate 69 at US 59) in Nacogdoches, Texas (95 spaces).
- TA Express at 47051 SD Highway 50 (off of Interstate 29, Exit 26) in Vermillion, S.D. (128 spaces).