The Parking Zone – July 2021

July 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.

Minneapolis passes truck parking ban

By now, many (if not most) Land Line readers know about the new truck parking ordinance in Minneapolis that prohibits parking within the city unless otherwise noted. If this is news to you, here’s a quick summary.

Short story: Truckers cannot park on the streets of Minneapolis.

Not-so-short story: After two years since it was first proposed, the Minneapolis Transportation and Public Works Committee passed the ordinance in June. It caused a lot of controversy, forcing city officials to go back to the drawing board. The “compromise” with stakeholders is a staff directive to look into a solution for truckers.

That’s it. The parking ban stands with the addition of the city being able to claim it will address parking issues with truckers.

Congress ignores truck parking in latest infrastructure bill

Good news is that the Senate has final reached a bipartisan infrastructure agreement. Bad news is that funding for truck parking is not included.

Getting an infrastructure bill that will actually get through Congress has been an uphill battle. A previous House bill included a section providing $1 billion for truck parking capacity. Unfortunately, it also included too many poison pills. The latest attempt at an infrastructure bill is considered more likely to see the light of day. However, the current bill does not include funding for truck parking.

Calling for $550 billion in new spending, the bill got through the Senate procedural vote 67-32, setting it up for amendments. It needed at least 60 votes, narrowly clearing the first hurdle. The slim margin may make it difficult for meaningful amendments, but stakeholders like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association are doing everything they can to make sure truck parking funding returns.

Even if truck parking is not included, there are still other avenues to take. For example, HR2187, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, is still alive. Fingers crossed.

New Mexico county considers truck stop

With the above news leaving a bad taste in our mouths, it’s time for a palate cleanser. The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that Bernalillo County is appears poised to add a new Pilot Travel Center.

The proposed truck stop near Albuquerque is off of Interstate25 and Broadway. Previously, county commissioners scoffed at providing subsidies since the truck stop would provide mostly low-wage jobs. Furthermore, Pilot is worth billions of dollars. A $58,000 waiver in project impact fees was rejected in May.

However, the commission recently approved more than $700,000 in gross receipts tax reimbursements for roadway improvements. The about-face with a 4-1 vote suggests a softer tone, paving the way for a new truck stop with more truck parking.

Arkansas addresses truck parking crisis

It’s not too often the trucking industry and a state department of transportation agree on issues. When it comes to truck parking in Arkansas, there are no arguments.

According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the Arkansas DOT and the Arkansas Trucking Association are collaborating to provide more truck parking in the state. They have the funding. In 2013, the state passed a 15% increase in commercial vehicle registration fees. The $2 million in revenue generated from that increase can be used to promote truck safety through public-private partnerships, including truck parking.

To start, the Arkansas Commercial Truck Safety and Education Program Committee wants to turn the site of an old I-40 welcome center in West Memphis into a truck parking facility. That would add 60 parking spaces with restrooms. However, that needs a public-private partnership, and the lowest bid is too high. Fortunately, the state has several options as it continues to find more truck parking.

Ramsay truck parking saga continues

Regular readers of The Parking Zone may be familiar with Ramsay, Mont. Do a search for “Ramsay” on LandLine.Media and you’ll find about a dozen entries dating back to at least 2018. It’s another NIMBY situation putting up roadblocks for a proposed Love’s truck stop.

Despite the resistance, Love’s continues to win battles, moving closer to winning the war. The latest victory comes from a Montana district court granting Love’s a liquor license. The decision affirms the decision previously made by the Montana Department of Revenue. Residents challenged that decision but ultimately failed.

According to The Montana Standard, residents are still not giving up. Even though they continue losing nearly every battle, they are still standing. You have to give them credit for their perseverance.

Love’s proposed the new location back in January 2017. If built, it will include more than 100 truck parking spaces.

Texas town rejecting Love’s proposal

Meanwhile, in Texas, Love’s may not have as much luck as it’s having in Montana. Dozens of residents in New Braunfels are opposing a proposed new location, KENS-5 is reporting.

The proposal calls for a truck stop off Interstate 35. If you drive through the area right now, you will likely see at least one of about 100 signs reading “Stop Loves NB Truck Stop” with the hashtag #StopLovesNBTruckStop.

Some are complaining about distance from existing homes while pointing out there is already a truck stop within a mile from town. Nothing is set in stone for now. The city’s planning commission is scheduled to review the proposal on Sept. 8.

New York Thruway service area closures

As of July 29, the New York Thruway is closing 10 service areas for a $450 million modernization project. What does this mean for truck parking?

Despite road rumors, truck parking will NOT be affected. The Thruway confirmed with Land Line that in addition to fuel services, truck parking will remain available during construction.

The project will be done in two phases. Phase one includes 16 service areas beginning this year, with phase two including the remaining 11 service areas starting in January 2023. Phase one is scheduled to be completed in November 2023, and phase two is scheduled to be finished in May 2025. New amenities will include increased truck parking, showers, laundry facilities and fitness centers. Wow!

Joliet residents can’t have cake and eat it too

Much like the Ramsay saga, issues surrounding truck parking in Joliet, Ill., have been going on for years. Recently, residents found something new to gripe about.

According to WJOL-1340, Joliet residents asked the news radio station to do something about another truck parking issue. Remember, NIMBYs in that city have been fighting a proposed Love’s truck stop since at least 2018. Residents in nearby New Lenox are doing the same.

This time, residents are complaining about truckers parking and napping in a mall parking lot. No parking is allowed there, so truckers moved to the strip mall in front of the mall. Residents are not happy about it and want the truckers out.

The same city that is resisting a truck stop is complaining about trucks parking in strip mall parking lots. Why do they think truckers are parking there? Maybe it’s because there are no other options.

Proposed ‘truck stop’ in Chicago suburb

Buffalo Grove in Illinois may soon be the home to a new truck stop, according to Journal and Topics.

Currently, the site at 201 N. Milwaukee Ave. is a Speedway gas station. Speedway wants want to acquire and demolish a nearby office building to build a larger truck stop. The location is off of U.S. 45, which is not far from Interstate 94/294.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the new “truck stop” will have no truck parking or overnight storage. By law, it is considered a truck stop only because it will be greater than three acres and sell more than 10,000 gallons of diesel per month. The truck stop designation also allows it to provide “video gaming” machines 24 hours a day. Womp womp.

New truck stop opens in South Carolina

Enough with all these truck stop proposals. Let’s talk about a new truck stop that will be opening soon.

Calhoun Oil Co. and Palmetto Express have announced the grand opening of a truck stop at 495 Old Sandy Run Road in Gaston, S.C., which is off Interstate 26, Exit 125. Land Line confirmed that truck parking will be available. Palmetto Express did not provide details regarding the number of spaces.

The grand opening is scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. on Aug. 5. In addition to prizes, food and drinks, a local radio and bloodmobile will also be there. Check out the Facebook post about the event here.

New Big Three locations

Keeping with the theme, July was not a good month for new locations. Only one truck stop was opened between Love’s, Pilot Company and TravelCenters of America:

  • Love’s at 5278 W. Main St. (off  U.S. 70) in Durant, Okla. (13 truck parking 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

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.