The Parking Zone – March 2018

March 30, 2018

Tyson Fisher

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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.

News 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 across the United States.

Ohio DOT considers closing I-77 rest area

ODOT has been seeking comments on a proposed closure of the rest area on Interstate 77 northbound in Washington County. According to a news release, ODOT has concluded that there are enough facilities in the area for the needs of the traveling public, including several gas stations. ODOT’s website shows that there are 20 truck parking spots at this location.

Since 1992, more than 60 rest areas have been closed in Ohio as a result of private sector development providing similar services, environmental issues relating to antiquated on-site water and sewer systems and facility obsolescence based on current standards and requirements.

Florida city looks for truck parking solution

Officials in Longwood, Fla., are trying to solve a problem that residents are complaining about: trucks parking on the shoulders. According to a WESH 2 report, trucks are parking along the shoulders of the city’s rest area because parking fills up quickly. The Florida Department of Transportation has looked for other locations but with no success. Now city officials are stepping in to find a location where a private developer might want to build a truck stop. Stay tuned for more developments.

Neoga, Ill., planning new truck stop and hotel

According to The Effingham Daily News, a private company plans to build a truck stop, restaurant and hotel in the city of Neoga on U.S. Route 45. A truck stop was once at this location, but has been demolished. Developers have been planning to build a new structure.

The new truck stop will include seven diesel dispensers for trucks. Approximately 65 truck parking spaces are included in a diagram. Construction for the hotel will begin next year and include approximately 84 rooms.

Santa Fe, N.M., not happy about proposed Pilot Flying J location

PFJ has been trying to open a new location in Santa Fe, but residents are trying everything within their power to prevent that from happening. How bad is it? Here’s an excerpt from an editorial piece in the Santa Fe New Mexican:

“Let’s see. Truck stops give rise to high levels of diesel emissions, cause around-the-clock braking and accelerating noise, contaminate surface water and groundwater through normal fueling operations, and permanently damage terrain through underground tank storage. Quality of life? Dark skies for stargazing? Think again. Quiet desert sunsets? Listen to the song of the air brakes. World-class visual and scenic qualities? Tourists drive on by. There would be no different city here.”

The editorial went on to say “the county has a chance to do the right thing by denying Pilot Flying J’s application…”

On March 15, the Santa Fe County Planning Commission recommended denial of the proposal.

Canadian town considers banning trucks; resident defends truckers

The city of Merritt in British Columbia wants to erect signs telling truckers they are not allowed to park in the town unless they are making deliveries, according to the Merritt Herald.

Since a truck stop closed in the area last year, truck congestion has gotten worse in the city. Signs are likely to say “All trucks must turn left” or “No right turn” at certain locations to prevent trucks from entering the town.

However, in an opinion letter, a longtime resident spoke up for truckers.

“Well Mr. Mayor and council, maybe take a minute to think about if one of your family or other friends were truck drivers, and they’ve been on the highway for hours. Maybe fighting a bad snowstorm to get through, or just had a long day at work.

They are exhausted and hungry. Then they roll into our town and see they are not welcome? Can’t get that meal, or rest?

And so they carry on in that condition. Then maybe the unthinkable happens, they dose off. And that truck driver, God forbid, crashes or takes out a family?”

Another Wal-Mart in trouble for truck parking

Last month, I found a Wal-Mart in Illinois getting hounded for allowing trucks to park in its lot. This month, a Wal-Mart in Grand Blanc Township, Mich., is getting the same treatment.

Grand Blanc Review reports the planning commission “heard that semi-truck parking at Wal-Mart continues to be an issue.” A city planner drove by and noticed at least five violations. He approached the store manager to remind the company that approval of the site plan included no truck parking. The planner said “they wanted the site to be a ‘first-class’ operation and had no intention of allowing it to be a truck lot.”

One suggestion is to allow them to park behind the building. A trucker told a city planner that there is nowhere else to park in the town. One city planner responded to that:

“Those people drive hundreds of thousands of miles. There’s no reason they can’t drive 6 miles to a truck stop where they have the proper facilities to refuel, to spend the night, to shower, go to the bathroom – all of those things.”

New truck stop in Waupun

The Heritage Ridge Travel Plaza off of Highway 151 and Highway 26 in Waupun, Wis., is now open for business. According to the Daily Citizen, the new stop includes an 8,500-square-foot convenience store, CITGO fuel bays and amenities for truckers, such as showers, laundry facilities and a lounge. There are 40 truck parking spaces available at the facility.

New locations from Love’s and Pilot Flying J

Below are new truck stops opened by Love’s and Pilot Flying J:

  • Capac, Mich. – Love’s at 3191 Capac Road, I-69, Exit 176 (104 parking spaces)
  • Elizabethtown, Ky. – Love’s at 601 South Ring Road, Western Kentucky Parkway, Exit 133 (63 spaces)
  • Denton, Texas – Love’s at 6421 N. Interstate 35, Exit 471 (85 spaces)
  • Wynnewood, Okla. – Love’s at 305 W. Robert S. Kerr Boulevard, U.S. Highway 77 and Jarrett Avenue (no truck parking)
  • Suffolk, Va. – PFJ at 2400 Holland Road near Highway 58 (17 spaces)
  • Falfurrias, Texas – PFJ at 1419 US 281 (54 spaces)
  • Saint Agathe, Manitoba – PFJ at 354 Voyageur Road off of Highway 75 (34 spaces)

Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.