Truck parking situation no better for drivers

As the demand for truck parking spaces increases along the nation’s heavily traveled highways, states continue to vie for federal money to help address those woes. Drivers may be heartened to learn that relief is on the drawing board, but want to know what they’re supposed to do in the meantime.

The lack of truck parking at truck stops and rest areas has forced many truckers to change their driving habits. Because of truck parking shortages, many drivers, including OOIDA member Kelly Allen, start looking for parking places before dark to ensure that they have a safe spot to rest.

Allen said that in the past she liked to drive until late at night, pull in somewhere to park, and then head back out late the next morning. Now, with truck parking becoming so scare, Allen said she has to start looking for a place to park around 5 p.m. to make sure she has a safe spot to park her rig for the night.

“I used to be able to drive until late at night, which is the way I like to drive, then pull in somewhere and stop when I was tired,” she said. “Now, if I do pull in somewhere around 11 p.m. or later, I run the risk that I won’t find a parking place.”

She said many frustrated drivers who can’t find a space simply pull off on a ramp and park, which Allen said she has done, but is leery of because of safety concerns.

“I just don’t think it’s safe to park on ramps,” Allen said. “I have seen trucks flip over because one side sank in the mud or they were hit from behind by someone driving up or down a ramp.”

When she’s in Texas, Allen said she counts on parking at the Fifth Wheel of Texas Fuel Stop in Lufkin. She said she was surprised when she pulled in there Wednesday, Jan. 16, only to find out that the truck stop had been torn down.

Allen said just the restaurant next door, Charlie’s, which has about 40 to 50 spaces for truckers to park, is still standing – for now.

“The main building was gone, which was surprising to me, and they were just removing debris when I was there,” she said. “One of the waitresses at the restaurant next door said the truck stop was torn down to make room for the I-69 Corridor, which hasn’t even been approved yet.”

Allen said the waitress at Charlie’s told her the restaurant and a nearby hotel are scheduled to be torn down in the near future.

This has been a problem for years and will always be a problem. These states and truck stops need to unload some money and get with the program, and update the parking.
This problem is much deeper than many notice, and in many cases, you can look right back at the large trucking companies, and the trucking industry and see why the parking situation stinks.

  • Small truck stops becoming major fuel networks
    More and more, the large companies are narrowing their fueling choices down to places like Loves and Pilot, over the traditionally larger truck stops, and definitely over any of the older independent truck stops where the service used to actually be good.
  • Opening a new truck stop is not profitable
    Goes back to the large companies narrowing down fuel choices. If you are going to open a truck stop, and maintain it properly, you need to make a profit. When the majority of drivers only use your truck stop for a place to park and a place to use the restroom, you will soon be out of business.
The only other option is State or Federally funded parking areas which are going to have nothing but a place to park your truck, and maybe a restroom. This has been looked into several times in the past, but NATSO continually claims that there is more than enough parking available in truck stops. Why do they make this claim? Because they don't want to see their truck stops no longer jam packed with trucks. They need their truck stops overflowing with traffic in order to make a profit.
in my "earlier years" of driving, when i went cross country, i didn't have any problems driving into the night then stopping at a truckstop, but this is/was, west of the mississippi.............

east of the miss, i HAD BETTER get into a truckstop BEFORE 6PM the latest, or i was S.O.L. in finding a space. then of course, what adds to that problem, is the self-rightous driver(s) who park so badly (or on purpose) as to take up 2 parking spaces.

in my "later years", i did and still do, linehaul, so the only parking i do now is along the curb when i run in the local coffee shop for my donuts and coffee, then i'm outta there, all in about less than 10 minutes.

with the general population growing, comes housing. either apartment complexes, or condo's or homes, and many of these are going up nearby highways, or secondary routes, taking away space for a possible truckstop.

then too, we have the NIMBY's, those people (not in my back yard..NIMBY) have been a voice as to whether or not a truckstop gets built near them. and i think we pretty much know thier opinions on that........
Very good points.

Somehow, the parking situation will need to be addressed. Not sure how it will be done, but it can't get much worse before something has to be done.

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