City council meeting set for June 3 to discuss truck parking in Hobart, IN

| 6/2/2009

A final vote is expected on Wednesday, June 3, on a proposed ordinance that would prevent truckers from parking overnight at retail parking lots in Hobart, IN.

Frustrated truckers, already struggling to find parking options, are determined to fight back. 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent out a Call to Action to its Indiana members on Monday, June 1, after the city council in Hobart, IN, proposed an ordinance at its last meeting that would prohibit truckers from parking overnight at retail parking lots, such as Wal-Mart, along U.S. 30.

While OOIDA Senior Member Jessie Long of Hobart said he won’t make it back in time for tomorrow’s meeting, he’s hoping other drivers who are home will make every attempt to be there.

“My attitude toward these places that don’t want trucks is to have the trucks pull up to a big lot and tell everybody who doesn’t want trucks in their towns to come get their freight and see how they like that,” he said.

Long, a 40-year-truck veteran, said the attitude toward truckers has changed over the years and while people want the products the trucks deliver, they don’t want the trucks.

“People used to respect what we did and worked with us, but not no more,” Long said. “These truck stops and rest parks are jam-packed every night. If you’re not there early, you don’t get a spot; that’s just how it is,” he said.

The council’s first reading of the ordinance was approved by a 5-2 vote; however, a final vote is expected at their upcoming meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3.

OOIDA is encouraging its Indiana members to make calls to council members in Hobart, who are listed in the CTA, to block this ordinance. It would restrict where truckers can park to take their federally mandated 10-hour breaks.

OOIDA Life Member Warren Riley, who lives in Valparaiso, IN, said while he opposes what the council is trying to do in Hobart, he’s isn’t a resident so he can’t speak at the meeting, according to the council’s rule.

Riley said the nearest truck stop is seven miles away and only has truck parking for about 20 trucks, Riley said. He said that many of the local drivers already have dibs on those spaces, so many long-haul truckers are going to be out of luck if they can’t park at Wal-Mart and other local stores.

“If Hobart passes this ordinance, where are they going to park? The city of Hobart needs to think it through before they do something like this.”

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer