The Parking Zone – October 2021

October 29, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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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.

OOIDA urges California governor to address truck parking

Recently, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-19-21, which directs his office to “identify nonstate sites … that could be available to address short-term storage needs” related to supply and distribution chain crisis. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association seized this opportunity to get more truck parking spaces, finding that adequate parking for truckers is necessary to address the ongoing crisis.

“One of the biggest challenges that truckers face in California is a shortage of truck parking,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer stated in the letter. “The lack of truck parking makes it difficult for drivers to find a safe place to stop when they need to rest or comply with federal break requirements. As a result, drivers are forced to spend more and more of their on-duty time finding a place to park rather than keeping goods moving. Unpredictable delays and scheduling problems during this time of enormous supply chain disruption make it even more difficult for drivers to plan their day and find safe parking.”

Unfortunately, it takes a national crisis for the industry’s concerns to be heard. Let’s hope the governor reads the letter and takes it seriously.

Washington state rest area closures

This bit of information has been making the trucking news rounds, but is certainly worth repeating. Several rest areas in Washington state are temporarily closing for various reasons.

  • Smokey Point NB and SB – closed as of Oct. 15 for up to 3 months.
  • Custer NB and SB – closed until further notice due to border crossing restrictions.
  • Telford – closed for repairs, may reopen in November.
  • Hatton Coulee – closed for repairs, open to be determined.
  • Forest Learning Center – closed for the season beginning November.
  • Blue Lake – closed for the season after Oct. 24.
  • Elbe – Reduced hours for the winter, November through March, open Saturday and Sunday and major holidays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Transportation is closing several Interstate 5 rest areas for the long term. According to WSDOT, the closure of the southbound Silver Lake Rest Area at mile marker 118 in Everett is closed indefinitely. That is in addition to the Smokey Point Rest Area noted above.

WSDOT states the closures are due to some shenanigans, including “those who extend their stay beyond the posted limits, illegal disposal of trash and waste, vandalizing the buildings, verbally abusing and even threatening WSDOT employees.” At least one trucker on social media has stated that although this is a hardship on truckers, this is the correct decision as the rest areas have become dangerous. Yikes!

The department reports it plans to reevaluate the situation in early 2022. To those wreaking havoc on the rest areas: Thanks a lot.

Love’s coming to Louisiana town

October truck parking news kicked off on a positive note with the city of Gonzales, La., announcing a new business. According to WVLAV, the city announced on Oct. 1 that it will be home to a Love’s Travel Stop. The new truck stop will be on Highway 44 at Interstate 10, so look for that in the not-too-distant future.

Tennessee addresses truck parking

The Tennessee Department of Transportation broke ground on widening project along Interstate 65 at the beginning of the month. The massive project will widen nearly 26 miles of the interstate in Davidson, Robertson and Sumner counties. TDOT will complete the project in phases. This month’s phase is just the second of five phases, which spans from state Route 25 to state Route 109.

What does this have to do with truck parking? In addition to adding more travel lanes, TDOT also plans to convert a northbound weigh station into a truck parking area. Meanwhile, the southbound weigh station will get new scales, a truck inspection station and more parking spaces. This is something other states have done and more states need to do.

Truck parking being replaced with people housing

During a time when the nation is struggling to find more truck parking spaces, it seems crazy to think that a state or local government would actually eliminate some spaces However, that is exactly what is happening in Newark, N.J.

In the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark sits an asphalt lot. That lot is currently a truck parking lot. Not for long. The city approved final plans to turn the truck parking lot into a five-story, multifamily building, according to TAPinto.net. We are used to existing residents kicking truckers out. Now, future residents are putting an end to truck parking.

New Kwik Star in Iowa

The Parking Zone received a news tip about a new Kwik Star in Davenport, Iowa. The new truck-friendly store is at 13888 118th Ave., just off of U.S. 61. According to its website, the Kwik Star is a 24/7 operation with truck parking, a scale, fax machine, Wi-Fi and showers, and it accepts fleet cards. Fuel options include diesel No. 2, winterized diesel and premium diesel.

In related news, The Perry News is reporting that Kwik Star is looking into another new location in Iowa. Specifically, the company submitted a proposal to the Perry, Iowa, Planning and Zoning Commission. If it clears all the hurdles, the new Kwik Star truck stop will be off on Highway 144. Kwik Trip Inc. has hundreds of locations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. If you are confused about the name, stores in Iowa and Illinois are called Kwik Star, not Kwik Trip.

Mansfield, Pa., gets more truck parking

According to NorthCentralPA.com, Mansfield will have a new Onvo Travel Plaza sometime next year. Specifically, the travel plaza will be at 1904 S. Main St.in Richmond Township, Tioga County. In addition to truck parking, the Onvo Travel Plaza is expected to have showers, diesel pumps, electric vehicle charging stations and a Burger King. There is no timeline other than construction beginning next year.

Proposed truck stop reduces parking spaces

File this one under the “better than nothing” tab. A proposed truck stop in San Bernardino County, Calif., has agreed to a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the local school district against the county. According to The San Bernardino Sun, the lawsuit alleges the county did not follow a proper environmental review before approving of the Bloomington Commercial Center.

Initially, the project’s plans included above-ground diesel tanks, truck scales, seven diesel pumps, a dog park and 36 truck parking spaces. Under the settlement, the truck stop will no longer include above-ground tanks or a dog park. Additionally, truck parking will include no more than 20 spaces instead of 36. Even worse than that, trucks can park at the truck stop for no more than two hours, eliminating any kind of overnight parking. It’s better than nothing, but not by much.

Thorntons opens two new locations near Chicago

The Chicago region is a busy freight hub with a need for parking, and Thorntons appears to know that. In October, the truck stop chain opened two new stores in the area,

The first new Thorntons truck stop is at 102 South Weber Road in Bolingbrook, Ill. The second location is at 911 Tek Drive in Crystal Lake, Ill. Both include a rear diesel island and limited overnight truck parking.

20 acres of truck parking near Miami

That’s a lot of parking spots. How much does 20 acres of “heavy truck parking land” cost? Just more than $17 million, according to the South Florida Business Journal. Details are scarce as of publication, but the Business Journal is reporting that the land is outside the Miami-Dade Urban Development Boundary. In other words, any project needing water and sewer services is prohibited. Truck parking, on the other hand, is perfectly OKand needed in the area. Chances are the lot will be paid parking, but that’s better than a citation or a crash.

New Big Three locations

Of the Big Three truck stops – Love’s, Pilot and TravelCenters of America – Love’s and TA opened a total of two new locations, adding nearly 100 much-needed truck parking spaces to the infrastructure:

  • Love’s at 8316 N. Route 1 (Exit IL Highway 17, SR 17) in Grant Park, Ill. (33 truck parking spaces).
  • TA Express at 12602 South Freeway (Exit Almeda Genoa Road, state Highway 288) in Almeda, Texas (65 spaces).

Make sure to check out the print edition of The Parking Zone in the latest Land Line Magazine issue for truck parking news not mentioned above. LL

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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.