The Parking Zone – December 2021

December 30, 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.

Ohio state government addresses truck parking

Truck parking development lies mostly with state and local governments, but it depends largely on federal funding. Until Congress allocates money specifically to truck parking development, state DOTs need to get creative. The Ohio Department of Transportation is doing just that by repurposing two unused weigh stations.

According to ODOT, weigh stations along Interstates 71and 76 in Ashland and Medina counties will be converted to truck parking areas. One weigh station is located on I-71 south between state Route 301 and U.S. 250 in Ashland County. The other is on I-76 east between state Route 3 and state Route 57 in Medina County. Construction is expected to begin in April 2024.

Arizona state government also attends to truck parking

Further south and to the west, another state is adding some truck parking spaces, albeit temporarily. In early December, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the Arizona Department of Transportation announced the reopening of two previously closed rest areas. One rest area is on Interstate 40 in Parks. The other is in Christiansen on Interstate 17.

According to a news release, the rest areas are “open to serve the public, providing additional opportunities for drivers to park and rest, and further alleviating stress on the supply chain.” However, this is only temporary to provide relief for critical deliveries during the holiday season. The two rest areas will shut back down after Jan. 18.

What about electric truck parking?

WattEV made headlines in December after breaking ground on the country’s first electric truck charging station in Bakersfield, Calif. Located off of Highway 65 north of Meadows Field Airport, the 110-acre truck stop features a solar microgrid with battery storage.

This marks the beginning of the takeover of electric/zero-emissions trucks. There is a lot of “range anxiety,” including a lack of charging stations at truck parking areas. WattEV plans to build more electric truck stops along the Interstate 5 and Highway 99 trucking corridors through the Central Valley, the San Joaquin Valley and beyond, according to the company. When complete, the truck stop will be able to charge up to 200 trucks per day.

QuikTrip moving into OKC territory

After a zoning request was approved, QuikTrip is on track to open its first location in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Parking Zone mentioned the possibility in the December/January issue of Land Line Magazine.

Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip has stayed out of Oklahoma City for decades. According to The Oklahoman report, the decision to avoid OKC comes down to respect. Bill Brown, owner of OKC 7-Eleven locations, gave QuikTrip co-founder Chester Cadieux some advice back in the early days.

“If it wasn’t for Brown, we wouldn’t be in business,” Cadieux told the Tulsa World in 2014. “As long as Brown’s family owns those stores, it would be unconscionable to open there.”

You don’t see that kind of respect in business nowadays. That being said, the Brown family sold its stores last year, so it is game on for QuikTrip.

New York truck stop on hold

In the November edition, The Parking Zone mentioned a proposed truck stop in Niagara, N.Y. For the most part, everything was looking good. A lot has changed in a month.

The city’s planning board is tabling the proposal after at least one board member requested a public hearing on the matter. Essentially, Board Member Ed Herman is bringing up the same concerns heard everywhere else – i.e., prostitution, drugs, idling, etc.

What looked like a promising proposal is now poised to get shot down by Niagara NIMBYs. The Parking Zone will keep you updated on this truck parking project.

Virginia county rejects truck parking

Local governments are making it difficult to build much-needed truck parking spaces. Frederick County in Virginia is the latest example. With a 7-4 vote, the Frederick County Planning Commission denied a permit application for a truck parking facility. However, the matter is not over. The county’s Board of Supervisors will hear the proposal on Jan. 12. Stay tuned.

New Love’s expected outside of Chicago

Morris, Ill., will be the home to a new Love’s Travel Stop sometime next year, according to WCSJ-FM. Approved by the city in 2020, construction of the new truck stop may begin as early as this spring. Once built, there will be an additional 86 truck parking spots near Chicago. Although 60 miles away, Morris is considered part of the Chicago metropolitan area.

NIMBY’s struck down by city council outside of St. Louis

This doesn’t happen often, but it is encouraging when it does. The Highland City Council in Illinois voted unanimously to approve of a property annexation despite concerns from residents. The Belleville News-Democrat reports development proposals include a truck stop in the area, which is situated just 30 miles east of St. Louis.

Unfortunately, there is some bad news. The truck stop is not much of a truck stop. Developers indicated that business will not be a “traditional truck stop” – i.e., no overnight truck parking, showers, diner and only one diesel lane. How is this a truck stop?

Mississippi town reaping the benefits of new truck stop

Despite a pandemic crippling local economies, small towns continue to reject proposed truck stops. Not Verona, Miss.

According to WTVA-TV, the city of Verona is the future home of a new truck stop. In fact, the city has been prospering the past 18 months even though the pandemic has been destroying businesses elsewhere. Located off of U.S. 278 and state Route 6, the mayor expects an increase in sales tax and quality of life within the city.

HR2187 update

Congress has struck out with truck parking after three major whiffs at the plate. However, we’re still in extra innings, thanks to Rep. Mike Bost’s HR2187, aka the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act. In December, two more reps signed on, totaling 28 co-sponsors as of publication. Check the co-sponsor list here. If your rep is not listed, call his or her office and kindly let them know they have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by supporting the common sense, bipartisan bill.

Love’s ends 2021 with a bang

Of the Big Three truck stops – Love’s, Pilot Co. and TravelCenters of America – Love’s and Pilot opened a total of 10 new locations (nine of which belong to Love’s), adding more than 700 much-needed truck parking spaces to the infrastructure:

  • Love’s at 3219 Airport Drive (Interstate 15, Exit 277) in Great Falls, Mont. (56 truck parking spaces).
  • Love’s at 7988 160th Ave. NE (Interstate 29, Exit 187/state Route 66) in Drayton, N.D. (63 spaces)
  • Love’s at 57964 188th St. (Interstate 29, Exit 35-B/Highway 34) in Pacific Junction, Iowa (84 spaces).
  • Love’s at 12182 Highway 87 N (U.S. 87 N, Exit 0.4 miles SE of Ponderosa Lane) in Dalhart, Texas (77 spaces).
  • Love’s at 250 Dan O’Brien Way (U.S. 97, Exit Dan O’Brien Way) in Klamath Falls, Ore. (94 spaces).
  • Love’s at 6647 state Route 46 (Interstate 20, Exit 205/state Route 46) in Heflin, Ala. (72 spaces).
  • Love’s at 1100 S Main St. (Interstate 90, Exit 284/Main Street) in Kimball, S.D. (68 spaces).
  • Love’s at 915 South 1100 West (Interstate 15, Exit 163) in Fillmore, Utah (73 spaces).
  • Love’s at 6582 S state Route 66 (Interstate 64, Exit 92/state Route 66) in Leavenworth, Ind. (75 spaces).
  • Pilot Travel Center at 1307 SE Grand DD Highway (Interstate 29, Exit 35) in Faucett, Mo. (55 spots).

TravelCenters of America is poised to have a good year in 2022. In December alone, TA announced planned locations in Arkansas, California, Georgia, New Mexico and Texas. LL

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.