Positive parking news out of Kentucky and Pennsylvania

By Tyson Fisher, staff writer

Truck parking continues to be a problem nationwide. Many states and municipalities, however, are doing their part to support the truck drivers who need a safe and accessible place to park.

In January, a facility at a rest area off of Interstate 65 near Horse Cave, Ky., caught fire, shutting down the rest area. The rest area has approximately 110 parking spaces, making the closure a significant loss for truckers.

The state could not immediately open up the parking lot but Chris Jessie, spokesperson for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, said keeping truck parking alive was their goal from Day 1. Unfortunately, two key components stood in the way: safety and money.

Regarding safety, security and lighting are limited when a rest area facility is under construction. Jessie explained in most similar scenarios, crime is an issue. Not because of the truckers, but because of thieves and other criminals taking advantage of the lack of lighting and security.

The state has been working with the Federal Highway Administration to obtain funding for a temporary solution. Kentucky is a self-insured state, so the money was not there at the state level. According to Jessie, the feds stepped in and allocated some money for temporary facilities at the rest area.

Jessie explained that the facility construction would not be completed for a year, but truck parking should be available within weeks.

Meanwhile in South Whitehall Township, Pa., a trucker and South Whitehall resident was approached by city officials last September regarding his tractor-trailer. Essentially, they wanted to ban the truck from parking on the road, citing dangers to a nearby daycare center.

It all began when a city commissioner tried to install a site-specific truck parking ban. Not coincidentally, the site was near his place of work. The commissioner claimed others had complained about the truck, saying the truck blocked the view of the street and could lead to crashes near the daycare center.

The ban was denied 3-2. Furthermore, city officials were not too crazy about a piecemeal approach to the alleged problem. Instead, they opted to devise a better plan.

On July 20, the city planner proposed a truck parking area. Rather than implementing a flat-out ban on truck parking, the city is suggesting that an area be reserved for overnight truck parking for resident truckers.

Truckers who reside in South Whitehall Township will be allowed to park their trucks overnight in one of the township’s established zones, which are only for residents with a permit, after 7 p.m. No idling will be permitted since the idea is to let resident truckers park their trucks and sleep in their beds at home. No pricing has been determined as of press time.

According to The Morning Call, South Whitehall took a look at Bethlehem Township’s truck parking solution while shaping their own. Both Bethlehem and South Whitehall Township have decided to meet in the middle rather than have a knee-jerk reaction and just ban trucks. LL