Let’s talk about parking.
I just got a notification for a petition that’s circulating to ask the big three to discontinue paid parking spaces they have reserved. The petition states the spaces could be put to use better in the war we wage against a distinct lack of parking on a daily basis out here by remaining non-paid and first come first serve. It goes on to say that it’s unfair for those who can’t afford to pay to park – the need is there whether or not someone has $15 to part with for the night, and that money could be spent for a decent meal or a shower instead.
Three years ago, I’d have signed the petition and been righteously indignant about it. Today, it sits in my inbox while I decide if I want to send my dog into this fray. Here’s why:
If I’ve learned anything the past few years, it’s been about business. This is a business, and even though the business requires a great deal of life participation, it’s still a business. We’re out here to make money, and the people we deal with are out here for the same reason. The big three aren’t in it to provide parking, they’re out here to sell things, and now that parking spaces are at a premium, and they happen to have them, they’re selling them. There’s nothing in the world altruistic about having a hundred parking spots at a truck stop, they build them to have a captive audience to parlay their goods to, not to provide good feels for the universe. These are facts, and it might not be what some people want to hear, but it’s the truth.
Does it make it morally right? Who knows? It depends on your own set of morals, but we’re not the moral police here, again, we’re operating a business. And they are too.
The bigger problem is the lack of public parking and rest areas that have become more and more necessary with the influx of federally mandated hours of service via electronic box. This is where everyone can safely become righteously indignant, because your money is what funds this public parking. It is directly part of your business model, in the form of taxes, and you have every right to talk about how it’s spent. The problem is not enough people will focus their complaints in the correct direction, and the people who spend the money get to do whatever they want to with it.
Like build giant signs that tell everyone there’s no parking available, because there’s not enough public parking. (Side note: I can’t help but imagine that the Captian Obvious character is the one who came up with that idea – he floated through the meeting in his canoe and said, “Hey, there’s not enough parking already, why don’t we invest a bunch of money in signs that say it?” and everyone was like, “Holy hell, Captain Obvious is a genius! Give him $25 million dollars! Stat!”)
According to this article from the Charlotte Observer, for as little as $32,000 someone can influence the Gubner enough to have the State Patrol crack down on napping truckers. I vote we offer the Gubner an even $60,000 to take the signs down and focus on the revenue them State boys could generate from drunk drivers leaving the vineyard instead. Talk about a safety hazard. And really, what’s more unsightly, a big truck, or an accident scene with mangled bodies?
It’s worth a shot — you never know till’ you ask.
The argument of not building or providing adequate parking because “truckers are dirty” has been beat to death. We get it. There are filthy people on earth, and some of them reside in trucks. This is not a valid argument to restrict parking for all truckers. It’s like saying all cats piss on walls, so we can’t build any more walls. For heaven’s sake, there are cameras on every surface of the galaxy. You can’t reasonably take sacrament in a church without being on video anymore. Please tell me why the people who are littering the parking lots with piss and excrement aren’t being prosecuted? Why in the hell can we see it on Facebook and it’s still not being prosecuted?
I’m fairly certain every marginally organized city in America has some sort of ordinance about not relieving oneself in public, as well as trash restrictions. Stop bitching about it and enforce it. It’s a source of revenue, use it and publicize it. Do what Texas does — post signs that say, “If we catch you littering or taking a crap on our public parking, we’ll beat you to death and leave you in a ditch somewhere for the coyotes.” OK, maybe not that exactly, but they don’t mess around with their signage. Texas lets you know if you mess up in their state, you’re going to pay for it.
I will not sign the petition. I will instead take the time to pass it on to my Representative in congress, with a letter of my own, letting them know that the parking shortage is critical and something that needs to be addressed immediately. I would strongly urge you to do the same.