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7/16/2014
Pierce County, Wash: 'Not a semi parking lot'
By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer

Despite efforts by truck drivers to postpone a vote until more information could be obtained on the availability of truck parking in Pierce County, Wash., the county council approved an ordinance that bans truck parking in residential areas.

The county council voted 6-1 in favor of the ban.

Pierce County Councilmember Jim McCune co-sponsored the bill, which will ban trucks from parking in residential neighborhoods from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The ban includes a $175 fine for those violating the ordinance. Enforcement of the new ordinance is scheduled to begin in August.

McCune said he proposed the bill based on constituent complaints, citing “nuisance and safety issues,” because of trucks parking on residential streets.

“We tried to craft this so that it would be as least restrictive as possible; they just can’t park their rigs overnight,” McCune told Land Line before the vote. “We aren’t banning them from parking in commercial or industrial areas or if they are parked in a rural area, but we don’t want them parking in suburban areas.”

Hugh Taylor, who is the senior legislative analyst for Pierce County, said other neighboring counties have passed similar ordinances banning truck parking. He said that he wasn’t sure if there was adequate truck parking to account for the number of trucks delivering to businesses in the county, but added that no survey or study was done prior to drafting the truck parking ordinance

“We haven’t done any type of analysis to study whether there is adequate truck parking in the county,” he said. “Some believe that restrictions in other counties are forcing trucks to park in urban areas, but we aren’t sure.”

McCune said the ban mainly seeks to dissuade small trucking operations, not properly permitted, from parking several tractor-trailers along neighborhood streets. He said he wasn’t sure how the ban might affect long-haul truckers who deliver in Pierce County.

“We are not a semi parking lot,” he said.

State DOTs are reviewing their truck parking availability as part of Jason’s Law, which was included in the current highway law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21. The provision directs the Federal Highway Administration to conduct a study to evaluate the capability of states to provide adequate parking, assess commercial vehicle traffic and to develop a system to measure the adequacy of parking. That survey is currently underway.

Both McCune and Taylor told Land Line before the council’s vote on July 15 that they were not familiar with Jason’s Law, named for Jason Rivenburg, who was murdered while parked in an abandoned gas station in South Carolina. He arrived too early for his appointment and was turned away by the shipper. He was killed for $7.

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