Maryland truckers speak out at public hearing on proposed parking ban

| Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Truckers had an opportunity to speak out at a public hearing on Tuesday, July 22, on a proposal to ban the parking of large vehicles along county roads in Montgomery County, MD.

And while many county residents came out to voice their concerns about the proposed ordinance, few truckers addressed the Montgomery County Council on how the bill would affect their livelihoods.

OOIDA Senior Government Affairs Representative Mike Joyce, who attended the hearing, said the Council still needs input from more truckers as this bill heads to the Council’s Public Safety Committee.

“The Council is just scratching the surface with this meeting, but it’s important for truckers to speak out about how this could affect their livelihoods,” Joyce told Land Line on Wednesday, July 23. “Truckers pay on average $17,000 a year in local, state and federal taxes and don’t deserve to come home to a community that doesn’t respect what they do.”

Council President Michael J. Knapp introduced the bill in June, which would prohibit the parking of commercial vehicles, buses and recreational vehicles on public roadways in the county if either side of the street abuts a block containing a private residence, apartment, church, school, hospital or playground. Government-owned vehicles would be exempt.

Knapp told Land Line on Wednesday, July 23, that safety is the main reason he introduced the bill, but he said he hopes a workable solution can be reached for county residents and truckers.

“What we realized at the hearing is that there is a problem with truck parking in residential neighborhoods, but now we need to come up with a solution to address the problem,” he said. “That’s why I put this bill out there for discussion.”

There are also no truck stops in Montgomery County, which Knapp admits is a problem.

“When you have these commercial tracts of land, what are you going to build – a truck stop or a 10-story office building?” Knapp asked.

Knapp said the Council is looking at one possible solution, which would be to allow truckers to park their rigs in some of the county’s underutilized parking lots along Interstate 270, although no security measures would be available at those lots.

Another problem Knapp said the Council faces going forward is determining how many parking spaces may be needed for truckers in Montgomery County.

“We aren’t really able to gauge how many trucks are parking in residential neighborhoods so one of our challenges is figuring out how many spots are needed to help alleviate this problem,” he said.

Knapp said the bill will be discussed at the Council’s Public Safety Committee’s next meeting, scheduled for Sept. 11.

“I anticipate at least another two or three work sessions. There’s no doubt there will be refinements to the bill,” he said.

Send e-mail comments to Councilmember.Knapp@montgomerycountymd.gov or call his office at 240-777-7955.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer
clarissa_kell-holland@landlinemag.com

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