The Parking Zone – May 2019
May 31, 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.
New gas station ‘not a truck stop’
A large convenience store corporation wants to open a gas station in Livingston, N.Y. One way to sell the idea to locals: Explicitly say it is not a truck stop.
According to Hudson Valley 360, representatives for Global Partners addressed concerns during a town hall meeting. First and foremost, the proposed plan is not a truck stop. In fact, it’s a “neighborhood market with fuel service,” including diesel.
There will be truck parking, but no overnight parking and idling is limited to whatever the state regulation is set at.
But it is not a truck stop.
The engineer said that THREE times during a five-sentence explanation. Gas stations? A-OK. Truck stops? Nope!
Here’s a new one. Some locals in San Juan County, Utah, want to stop an approved new Love’s location to preserve the night sky, according to the Moab Sun News.
Not too long ago, the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration announced the 13-acre site of an upcoming Love’s location, making it the first truck stop in the region.
Apparently, locals take great pride in the relatively extreme darkness in the area, allowing people to see beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and gaze into the universe. They argue that light from such a large development like a truck stop will ruin the view.
After complaining about the sky, the conversation quickly went back on track to the standard human smuggling argument.
On the other hand, The Times-Independent is reporting that there are plenty of people that are actually OK with the truck stop.
Texas town cracks down on truck parking
Several truckers were surprised to find their trucks towed at a spot where they have been parking for years.
The Valley Star is reporting that police in San Benito, Texas, are enforcing an ordinance that prohibits trucks from parking on city streets that went into effect in 1995. Truckers who normally park at the San Benito Industrial Park had their cars towed, including one driver who has been parking there for more than six years.
The Valley Star says there are 100 truckers living in the town.
‘Unsightly, noisy (and) smelly’ trucks not allowed in South Carolina town
In the resort town of Hilton Head Island, S.C., sits a parking lot shared by a Best Western Inn and a condo building. As one would imagine, the uppity folks in the condos are tired of trucks being within sight.
Fortunately, the trucks will not go quietly. Best Western is suing the property owners’ association for allowing the condo complex to tow trucks from the lot. The hotel chain claims some of these trucks belong to guests and this is a shared lot. Meanwhile, condo residents claim the trucks are threatening their lifestyle.
The fight for parking has just begun. Stay tuned.
California resident understands need for rest areas
In a letter to The Mercury News, a reader asked why Caltrans is shutting down rest areas for months at a time, sometimes permanently.
“I think these areas are more valuable than people assume at keeping us safe because they provide convenient opportunities for drivers to recuperate and then resume driving in a rested and focused manner,” reader Mark Stevens points out.
Gary Richards of The Mercury News answered his question. He says there are many reasons why rest areas are closed. Perhaps more important is the fact that a citizen understands the exact purpose of a REST area. It’s in the name, for heaven’s sake!
Massachusetts resident also wants more rest areas
Coincidentally, a letter to the editor at The Falmouth Enterprise echoed the sentiment of the above California resident.
Lee Drescher seems astounded that the Bay State does not welcome visitors with rest areas, acknowledging that “even Rhode Island is willing to open its doors to travelers.” Drescher also points out that the state doesn’t think twice when it comes to spending money on “perks and giveaways.”
“After all of the freebies we hand out, there ought to be room in the budget for someone to keep up these places and provide a little old-fashioned hospitality,” Drescher said. “Let’s find a solution, even if we have to sell something.”
Florida county to raise truck parking fines
Officials in Orange County, Fla., are considering increasing fines for truckers parking their vehicles on residential streets, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Currently at $30, the county commissioner does not believe the low amount is an effective deterrent. How much the county wants to raise the fine is up in the air.
On a side note, hat tip to the Orlando Sentinel for putting the issue in context. Here are a few snippets from the linked article:
“Towing and impounding rigs could be a more costly option for motor carriers as they scurry to find an overnight parking spot in a region sorely lacking them.”
“About 95% of freight in Central Florida travels by truck, yet the lack of parking for rigs is considered a national epidemic …”
“After the 20-minute public discussion Tuesday, (County Commissioner Victoria) Siplin said the problem could present an opportunity for an entrepreneur.”
Different Florida county banning truck parking
While Orange County is thinking about increasing fines of an already existing truck parking ban, another county is banning large commercial vehicles from being parked on residential driveways.
According to WBBH-TV, Lee County passed an ordinance that bans vehicles weighing more than 15,000 pounds from being parking on the owner’s property.
Of course, the ordinance does not apply to personal RVs because that would upset too many people. Rather, Lee County wants to punish truckers directly by setting arbitrary lines within its ordinances
New truck stop receives preliminary approval in Georgia
Love’s Travel Stops is planning to begin construction of a new location off of Interstate 75 in Cordele, Ga.
According to the Cordele Dispatch, Love’s is just waiting for finalized approval from the local government. It appears that there is not much resistance to the plan.
The new Love’s will be right by land that will eventually become a new trucking terminal. Cordele will certainly see the revenue pour into its coffers by allowing common sense business into its city. The drivers who end up having to frequent that terminal will benefit from having a close place to purchase fuel or park and shower as well.
Roanoke County – 1, NIMBYs – 0
Local NIMBYs were recently delivered loss in Virginia. A 24/7 trucking terminal is getting closer to approval from Roanoke County despite opposition from local residents, WDBJ-7 is reporting.
In early May, the county’s planning commission approved of the terminal. If built as planned, the terminal could hold as many as 58 trucks.
The approval comes despite opposition from local residents. WDBJ-7 reports that one resident was in tears. The owner of the development tried to explain that the site was picked because a major client is next door, and the close proximity shouldn’t increase traffic. He also said the company “Takes security very seriously and will be taking steps to limit pollution at the site.”
The planning commission agreed with a 4-1 vote of approval, not letting hysteria overshadow logic and reasoning.
Potential truck stop in Kansas
It is still in the very early stages, but a new truck stop may arrive off of Interstate 70 in Kansas in the future.
As reported by The Hays Daily News, the Kansas Chamber is trying to get $11 million for a business corridor in Ellis County. None of the money is for a truck stop. Not directly anyway.
Hess Services, which already paid about $1 million in local property taxes last year alone, builds products for the industrial and oilfield markets, which requires large trucks. Officials for the company are trying to build a truck travel plaza nearby at Exit 157 on I-70.
In this case, Hess gets a much-needed fuel station, and the county gets even more tax dollars. Another win-win for all involved.
No truck parking in the Ozarks
If you are driving through Ozark, Mo., make sure you have plenty of hours left, because you won’t be able to park there.
The Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance that bans trucking parking in residential zoning districts at any time and parking in all other zones from 5 p.m. through 8 a.m., peak times for the parking shortage.
The only exception is for loading and unloading, which went without saying. Enforcement will begin on June 5.
Alabama city also bans truck parking
Let’s add Alabaster, Ala., to the growing list of municipalities banning trucks from parking in the area.
According to the Alabaster Reporter, the city council approved with a 4-0 vote to ban trucks from parking in the city in areas that are not explicitly designated for truck parking. Apparently, citizen complaints led to the new ordinance.
A $100 fine will be handed out for the first offense, $300 for the second offense and $500 for the third and subsequent offenses. To be fair, the tickets will be a last resort. Officers will attempt to ask the drivers to move first. So there’s at least that.
Montana study supports new rest area
While some states are closing rest areas, the Montana DOT is looking into adding more where they are needed.
MDT is currently working on its U.S. 2 Rest Area Siting Study. The purpose of the study is to identify gaps in rest area service on U.S. 2 and site new facilities based on needs, according to MDT’s website.
Currently, there are 24-hour, year-round rest areas at Troy and Culbertson. Montana is looking into seven segments of the corridor spaced at approximately one-hour intervals. This is all part of Montana’s Rest Area Plan.
Tip of the cap to Montana for recognizing a need that promotes safety.
Even The Onion is in on the joke that is truck parking NIMBYS
The Onion, one of the best satire news sites (in my opinion), has now put truck parking on its radar too.
In mid-May, The Onion posted the following headline: Rust Belt Town Protests Construction Of New Truck Stop That Would Obstruct Views Of State Penitentiary.
The article hilariously highlights the NIMBY problem with truck parking. Essentially, they will come up with any excuse to block a truck stop. This includes protecting the view of a prison and an “old brake pad factory.” Sadly, this Onion article is not too far from reality.