Channel 19

Todd Dills

Another drop in the ‘No Truck Parking’ bucket

| February 18, 2010

Fayetteville, N.C., Observer reporter Myron Pitts put out a clarion call in a recently published editorial for the North Carolina DOT to do the prudent thing to increase safety outside the Motiva Enterprises fuel terminal in the area and add at the least a turning lane for trucks backing up waiting for entry on Shaw Mill Road.

The article, “Truckers say no-parking zone means trouble,” revealed via fuel haulers’ testimonies a pattern that could have long ago been fixed. Tanker haulers, see, have for years been lining up on the grass just off Shaw Mill’s shoulder outside the terminal, which has necessitated repeated rebuilding of the shoulder. “Trucker Mitchell Sellers said he has been coming to the site for 15 years, and truckers have always waited on the grass,” Pitts wrote.

DOT’s preferred fix, recently introduced, was to put No Parking signs there, resulting in long lines at busy periods outside the terminal on the road. And, as Pitts sagely writes: “Cars will not wait; it’s a driving axiom.” Safety in such instances will be compromised as four-wheelers make their impatient ways around the trucks, just as closed public rest areas will result in truckers using unconventional parking spaces out of necessity, such as on off-ramps and in abandoned parking lots, when truckstops fill up at night.

After drivers’ voices were heard on the issue of Virginia and other states’ closed rest areas of recent history, eventuating in the “Jason’s Law” proposed legislation in Congress to boost funding for more secure truck parking around the country, Virginia responded by beginning to reopen the rest areas yesterday. Clearly the Fayetteville issue is not exactly the same as that of closed rest areas, but if it’s something that matters to you, letting your voice be heard can be consequential.

Pitts suggested as much in his story, calling on members of the community to weight in on the fix to the problem, at the least a removal of the no-parking signs — “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Pitts notes — or at most a paved area off the shoulder for parking. 

DOT, for their part, maintains that the terminal should better schedule fuel pickups to avoid lines, but we all know the unpredictability of traffic, not to mention security holdups at many terminals.

A commenter posting as “Dea” summed it up best: Instead of DOT’s worry over frequent rebuilding of the shoulder, Dea wrote, “They should have just paved it over and designated it as truck parking only after the second time. That would have saved a ton” in taxpayer money already.

Read the full story, and many reader comments, via this link.

Tonight, Allen Smith’s Truth About Trucking Internet radio show, live at 7 p.m. EST, hosts N.Y. Congressman Paul Tonko, who introduced Jason’s Law in the House of Representatives; he’ll be talking about the need for secure truck parking nationwide. Listen at this link.