PA township moves to restrict semis from parking on shoulders

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 8/16/2010

Truckers know all too well the struggles they face daily to find parking. And in Coolbaugh Township, PA, it’s about to get even more difficult for drivers if a no-parking ordinance passes restricting trucks from parking on shoulders along township roads.

Coolbaugh Township Supervisor Robert Hutchins told Land Line on Monday, Aug. 16, that the ordinance is “expected to be voted on and passed” at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 17, at the Municipal Center.

Hutchins admits there haven’t been any collisions he is aware of involving tractor-trailers that were parked along the routes, but states the ordinance is needed for safety reasons. The restricted routes would be Route 611 to the Interstate 380 north on-ramp and Route 423 from Route 611 to the I-380 south on-ramp.

He said snow removal is another reason why the ordinance is needed because snowplows have had problems when trucks are parked on the shoulders.

He said much of the truck traffic parked along these routes stems from the two distribution centers in the area, including the Walmart distribution center in Tobyhanna and the Benco Dental complex.

Neither location allows staging, which makes it tough to accommodate the number of trucks passing through the area each day, Hutchins said.

While Hutchins said the township has tried to work with the distribution centers to develop some type of plan to address truck parking problems in the area, a compromise hasn’t been worked out yet.

“We had two distribution centers pop up in a short period of time, but the question wasn’t asked at the time if they were going to have staging areas for trucks,” he said.

An employee in the transportation department at the Walmart distribution center in Tobyhanna told Land Line on Monday, Aug. 16, that while company trucks are allowed to park on site, owner-operators are not. He said he wasn’t sure whether the center would re-examine its policy if the ordinance passes. The employee spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hutchins said the township would “welcome a truck stop in the area,” but that road shoulders shouldn’t be used as parking areas. He said a truck stop is located at the next exit on I-380 about 8 miles from the township.

“We certainly understand what they (drivers) are up against and we plan to come up with places for them to park,” he said.