Two counties in Washington state seek truck parking bans

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 7/10/2014

As truck drivers continue to struggle to find safe truck parking on a daily basis, city and county councils across the county continue to propose ordinances restricting where they can park.

Recently, two counties in Washington state proposed truck parking bans in Franklin County and Pierce County. While the ordinance has already passed in Franklin County, the proposed overnight ban in Pierce County is still being considered. A meeting on the proposed ordinance is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15 in Tacoma, Wash. There is also a link on the site that allows the public to comment on the proposed ordinance before any vote is taken.

Pierce County Councilmember Jim McCune co-sponsored the bill, which would ban trucks from parking in residential neighborhoods from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The proposed ban includes a $175 fine for those violating the ordinance, if passed.

McCune said he proposed the bill based on his constituents’ 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 on Thursday, July 10. “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. Although there has been significant growth in the county in recent years, Taylor said he wasn’t sure if there was adequate truck parking to account for the number of trucks delivering to businesses in the county.
“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.”

Taylor said he has constructed a map showing where truck parking would be restricted and where truck drivers could legally park if the ban is passed.

McCune said the proposed ban mainly seeks to dissuade small trucking operations, not properly permitted, from parking several tractor-trailers along neighborhood streets.

“My constituents don’t want to walk outside and see a semi parked in front of their houses,” he said. “We are not a semi parking lot.”

In July, commissioners in Franklin County, Wash., passed a ban restricting trucks weighing more than 14,000 pounds from parking on residential streets unless they were making a delivery. The ordinance applies to unincorporated areas in Franklin County.

The lack of adequate truck parking is an issue truck drivers across the country are facing. While 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, communities continue to seek bans on truck parking.

Jason’s Law directs the Federal Highway Administration to conduct a study to evaluate the capability of states to provide adequate parking, assess commercial vehicle traffic, and develop a system to measure the adequacy of parking. That survey is currently underway.

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