More parking modest proposals: Register a truck, purchase a parking spot …

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Updated Jun 29, 2021

Longtime operator Henry Albert today runs an independent trucking business with authority on top of the chassis of a power unit and trailer that are part of Freightliner’s Team Run Smart on-highway trials of new tech (much of it aero-related in his case). Albert’s also the latest source of what is, ultimately, something of a tongue-in-cheek parking-solution idea that nonetheless hits on a potential path forward for trucking. He’s also the source of this picture:

Empty Parking Spots Henry Albert Photo 2019 08 09 12 57

He posted it to to his Albert Transport Facebook page with the notion that, given so much opposition to paying for the ability to reserve a parking space, maybe, just maybe, to quote Albert, “imagine if everyone who purchased a truck had to provide one to two truck and trailer parking spaces. All of these spaces would then become part of a truck parking consortium. This could solve the truck parking shortage and best of all it would have come from us. After all, it seems the majority of the trucking industry does not want to pay for parking. I am only kidding, but in some ways this could actually be part of the solution to the truck parking shortage. After all, it’s just a parking spot.”

Right?

Results as of midday today in the above poll showed about 6 in 10 readers either never pay to reserve parking, or only do so as a last resort, when nothing else was available upon arrival at a destination truck stop or other facility.

If those results can be seen as a proxy for opposition to paid parking generally speaking, Albert’s at least correct that a majority oppose the notion. I imagine the same could be said about the notion of a consortium of parking spaces. Given parking spaces ultimately are real estate, such an idea would likely only exacerbate one of the current principal problematic dynamics: too few spaces where truckers need them in areas where real estate appreciation keeps running up and up and up, and even more in areas where there might already be a surplus in parking spaces, where real estate’s generally cheap.

Require parking-space purchase upon registration of a truck, and can’t you just see the billboards now? Picture a big image of a grassy field, a big dozer on it, maybe a paver or two in another section of the frame.

Call 1-800-WE-HAVE-SPACE to break ground now! Low prices for your mandated space!

And the fine print:

The contents of this 1-800-WE-HAVE-SPACE advertisement should not be construed to imply your low-price space will actually exist in a location even near to anywhere you in fact actually operate and need it. 

Albert’s subsequent quips about the idea, though, do at least to emphasize a perhaps laudable or at least intriguing aspect of this parking-shortage problem, the appealing nature of truckers themselves providing the fix for the issue:

Maybe we should make it that the owner of the trailer has to purchase or rent one space for each trailer they own. Many carriers have four trailers to one truck, so this would give us a surplus of “free” parking. Oh wait, it would not be free, but it at least would be the trucking industry solving it’s own parking problem. After all, a large portion of the transportation sector thinks parking should be free. These spots could be purchased, rented, leased, or the ever-popular lease-purchase option. 

Right? I hope you’re laughing, at least a little, if somewhat uncomfortably … Stay tuned for more serious stuff about some opportunities to contribute to state parking-related efforts in Texas at the Great American Trucking Show two weeks on. Till then, safe weekend …

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