The Parking Zone – February 2021
February 26, 2021
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 crisis gaining attention
One of the issues with truck parking is that the general public simply does not understand the problem or does not even know. This was discussed during a recent “Live From Exit 24” show focusing on truck parking. However, some are starting to pick up on the reality.
Roll Call, a news outlet reporting on the federal government, recently published a piece specifically about the truck parking crisis. The story does a great job explaining the history of truck parking and current situation, specifically as it related to funding. And reporter Jessica Wehrman quotes truck drivers, including OOIDA’s Lewie Pugh in the story. It is information you already know about and has been written about extensively at Land Line, but it is likely new information for many Roll Call readers. More mainstream attention like this is exactly what the movement toward more truck parking needs.
The movement also received some momentum in February when House T&I chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., promised to “meaningfully address” truck parking in the pending highway bill after discussing the issue with OOIDA President Todd Spencer.
Georgia truck stop hits a roadblock
About a year ago, The Parking Zone (print edition) briefly mentioned how Macon, Ga., has been considering a truck stop proposal. More than a year later, ground has not been broken and now there is the usual problem.
According to The Telegraph, residents are raising the usual concerns about a truck stop. While seeking rezoning, nearby residents complained about increased traffic, noise, lighting and environmental impact. Situated near Interstate 75, the proposed truck stop would be near an existing Love’s Travel Stop and Amazon Fulfillment Center. The planning is still in the early phases, so anything is possible at this point.
Pandemic delays truck parking in Kansas
One proposed truck stop in Hays, Kan., is being further delayed, and it is not for the typical reasons.
According to the Hays Post, a truck stop in the works off of Interstate 70 at Exit 157 is about a year behind schedule for construction thanks to the pandemic. Initially, the new truck stop was to open this April. That start date has now been moved to October, butthe project is still underway. The larger development in Hays includes a travel plaza, truck wash, full-service hotel, restaurants and other businesses. Hays may be a great place to stop by the end of the year.
Update on Moses Lake truck stop
In the September edition of The Parking Zone, a proposed truck stop in Moses Lake, Wash., was mentioned. Specifically, residents began to complain about the proposal but did not do so in a timely manner. Well, they’re back.
With construction of a new Love’s Travel Stop scheduled to begin soon, residents continue to object, according to the Columbia Basin Herald. Essentially, nearby residents are not thrilled about the location site. Then again, no one ever is, no matter where you put it. However, one dismayed resident owned up to his lack of response. He told the Columbia Basin Herald that he should have spoken up when he had the chance, but he wrongfully assumed others would. Turns out, everyone thought that. Now, the truck stop will likely happen.
Moral of the story: Never assume someone will speak up for you. This is a big lesson for truckers when it comes to federal and state legislation. Do not assume other truckers will writer their letters.
Another Kansas town explores more truck parking
About three and a half hours east of Hays, Kan., sits Emporia, Kan., just off Interstate 35. Like Hays, Emporia is looking to expand its truck parking capacity.
KVOE is reporting that a proposed travel plaza in Emporia is progressing. In addition to the travel plaza, the $40 million project is expected to bring in restaurants, hotels, an RV park and a strip mall. Much like the Hays situation, the project has been delayed due to the pandemic. Also worth noting, Emporia is home to an existing Flying J truck stop, so the town appears to be very truck friendly.
Georgia county denies truck stop
Drivers who find truck parking scarce around Newton County, Ga., will not get any relief anytime soon. The Newton County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to deny a rezoning request for a truck stop, according to The Citizens, which serves Rockdale and Newton counties in Georgia.
The denial came after a resident and owner of an LTL trucking firm came forward with a petition with nearly 1,000 signatures opposing the truck stop. If passed, the truck stop would have included 120 truck parking spaces at state Route 11 and Interstate 20. Now, there will be none.
That area in general has not been very transportation friendly. During the last election, Newton County failed to pass a local sales tax increase that would have been used for intersection improvements, bridge replacement and repair, paving and resurfacing, transit, and safety improvements, Land Line State Legislative Editor Keith Goble reported. Around that same time, Rockdale County approved an amendment to the city ordinances that more or less bans truck stops altogether.
Possible truck parking relief in Mississippi
Another topic discussed in the aforementioned episode of “Live From Exit 24” was how state and federal government officials need to step up to the plate when it comes to truck parking. One lawmaker in Mississippi is doing just that.
According to the Daily Journal, Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, is telling the Mississippi Department of Transportation to end a policy that bans overnight truck parking at scale facilities. The article does a good job explaining the truck parking crisis both nationally and in Mississippi. Even if overnight parking is allowed at weigh stations, the Daily Journal noted, it will hardly put a dent in the truck parking problem within the state.
With that said, lifting the ban is still something. It is also nice to know that a lawmaker not only recognized the truck parking problem in his jurisdiction but then also decided to take immediate action. Tip of the cap to Rep. Turner.
Truck stop exemption in Connecticut town?
Usually when a city is planning a new business park, truck stops are excluded as potential businesses to be included. Not in Norwich, Conn.
The Day reports that Norwich city officials are considering plans for a second business park near Interstate 395. The city council is looking at a proposed ordinance that sets guidelines for the area regarding potential future development. Allowed uses include professional offices, research/development facilities, computer development firms and stuff like that.
However, the proposed ordinance also includes types of businesses that will be prohibited. That list includes retail, gasoline stations, auto repair shops, salvage yards, car sales, self-storage and several others. Surprisingly, the ordinance will allow a truck stop with associated retail sales, pending approval. That does not mean it will happen, but at least truck parking in Norwich is not immediately off the table.
New Big Three locations
Between Love’s Travel Stops, Pilot Co. and TravelCenters of America, Love’s was the only company to open new locations in February. Four, to be exact, adding more than 300 much-needed truck parking spaces to the infrastructure:
- Love’s at 8901 Highway 374 (Exit 85/WY Highway 374 off of Interstate 80) in James Town, Wyo. (87 truck parking spaces).
- Love’s at 2102 Enterprise Drive (Exit 23/MN Highway 74 off of Interstate 90) in St. Charles, Minn. (63 spaces).
- Love’s at 1126 County Highway 35 (Exit 14/CR Highway 35 off of Interstate 22) in Hamilton, Ala. (78 spaces).
- Love’s at 14375 Cornhusker Road (Exit 440/NE Highway 50 off of Interstate 80) in Papillion, Neb. (107 spaces).
Make sure to check out the print of edition of The Parking Zone in the latest Land Line Magazine issue for truck parking news not mentioned above. LL