Parking Solutions

Max Kvidera | January 01, 2012

These states have added or plan to add parking facilities:

Florida: Recently the Federal Highway Administration awarded $1 million to the state to add 90 parking spaces at the Florida 595 Truck Stop in Davie. The goal is to supplement the facility’s 35 paved spots by early 2013.

Iowa: Over the past decade, Iowa has opened truck parking at abandoned weigh and inspection stations and reconfigured rest areas to add more spaces.

Owner-operator Bryan Peirsol sometimes will head for a Walmart when he’s desperate to park, but it’s not always a sure option. “Some cater to truckers and others won’t let you park at all,” he says.

Missouri: From 2002 to 2010, Missouri added more than 400 spaces at rest areas and former weigh stations.

Utah: Utah is considering options for increasing parking along I-15, a key commercial route from Southern California ports. Among the possibilities under a $545,000 grant is working with big-box retailers to create truck parking.

Oregon: With a $480,000 federal grant, the state is working with a native American tribe to build and operate parking spaces on I-5 in southern Oregon. The tribe already runs a truck stop and rest area and is likely to expand truck parking at those locations.

Scoping the I-95 corridor

Some of the worst parking shortages occur along the East Coast. For nearly 20 years, federal and state transportation officials have been working to find solutions to traffic congestion and parking availability on the I-95 corridor from Florida to Maine. Early projects focused on creating 511 information systems and other technology deployment.

A current $5.5 million program aims to work with public and private facilities to monitor how many parking spaces are open by using thermo-optical imaging technology and cameras. Information would be updated every two minutes and made available to truckers through a website and/or smartphones, says Marygrace Parker, I-95 Corridor Coalition coordinator. The information might focus on specific truck stops or rest areas or those clustered in a geographic area chosen by the trucker.

The coalition considered a space-reservation system, but drivers voiced reluctance to pay for reservations, Parker says.

In Maryland, testing is under way on cameras that cost $150,000 to deploy, Parker says. In January equipment will be installed at four or five truck stops in Maryland and New York State. Carriers will be recruited to test the equipment to make sure it’s working properly. By the end of 2012, the goal is to expand the project to 14 or so sites along the corridor.

“Regardless how much information you put out, there’s still a capacity issue,” Parker says. “We hope to eliminate vehicles having to park on road shoulders and ramps, even though spaces might be available.”


TRUCK STOP SPACES

Among major truck stop chains, Pilot Flying J’s network numbers more than 550 facilities with more than 50,000 parking spaces. The company plans further expansion through new locations or acquired facilities, a spokesperson says.

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