When it comes to the war on truck parking, some non-drivers are much more interested in just sweeping the problem under the rug. After all, out of sight, out of mind, right? The St. Paul City Council has voted seven to zero in favor of banning truck parking within city limits.
The ordinance forbids truck parking when the truck exceeds 26,000 pounds, “unless such vehicle is actually and expeditiously engaged in the loading or unloading of passengers or materials from the vehicle, or is actually engaged in the providing of services at that location.”
St. Paul’s sister city, Minneapolis, instated a similar rule in 2021, and now St. Paul is following suit. This new law will become official on January 1st, 2024.
As anticipated, the ban has been met with detraction from the trucking industry. The Minnesota Trucking Association particularly wrote a scathing response; here is an excerpt from that:
“The proposed ordinance will reduce overall efficiency and cut into precious available driving hours for truck drivers forced to park outside of St. Paul. It is a simple fact that to meet narrow pick-up and delivery windows, trucks need to park close to their St. Paul customers. When Minneapolis passed a similar ordinance some drivers were forced to park in remote fee-based lots as far away as St. Cloud.
Many of the trucks parked overnight are owned by independent contractors who live within St. Paul. These small businesses, many of whom are owned by people of color, have no viable overnight parking alternative. This ban could effectively force these residents to cease operations and lose their livelihood.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), 98 percent of truck drivers regularly experience difficulties finding safe parking—a sharp uptick from the 75 percent figure reported just four years earlier. USDOT also found that the truck parking shortage exists in every state and region. Year after year, truck drivers have indicated that the parking shortage is one of the top three challenges they face, rising to number one in 2022.”
What can truckers do to fight citywide bans on truck parking? The governments within the United States is typically built like a pyramid, with the bottom being unable to exist without the top. As such, state governments have the potential to make laws forbidding these ordinances. Truckers may want to get in touch with their state government electorate to insist on the drafting of these laws, lest more major cities decide to make the problem worse while only appearing to become better.
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