By: Andy Warcaba
The steady growth in truck traffic nationwide has increased the demand for parking along the Nation’s Interstate Highways.
There is a major controversy on a national level as to whether there is sufficient parking available for truckers.
Numerous articles and research are available supporting each proponent’s contention that either there is sufficient parking or that there is insufficient parking.
Views range from insisting that there is a real shortage of public rest areas and privately owned truck stops to the argument that there may not be a shortage, but rather a lack of information about where parking spaces are located.
Federal regulations that require commercial truckers to stop, for extended periods of time to rest and sleep, raises the question: who is responsible for providing rest area facilities? Should taxpayers, commercial truck companies or truck-stop owners pay for extended-use parking for commercial truckers?
- The American Trucking Association continues to lobby for expansion of parking whether through public or private funding.
- The National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) opposes expansion of public rest area parking, suggesting that commercial truck stops offer the most affordable solutions.
- The position of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is that the commercial truck stop and travel plaza industry, State highway agencies, and turnpike authorities should and will continue to be principal suppliers of parking facilities.
Public rest areas along the National Highway System were never intended and will never be sufficient to accommodate truck-parking demand. The major responsibility for providing parking for commercial vehicles should remain with private industry. States should continue to provide public rest areas to address short-term rest needs.
However long the debate continues, it is apparent through observation (during certain times of the day, especially after dusk) that many public rest areas are filled well beyond capacity. It is not unusual to see the trucks queuing out both ramps and onto the shoulder of the interstate highways.
Andy Warcaba, President of Andrew J. Warcaba & Associates, Inc., has worked on several rest area and service plaza improvement and re-development projects that have become very successful on North America’s Interstate Highway System. His knowledge of the restaurant and fuel industries coupled with his expertise in conducting a Request for Proposal Process including the components of strategic planning, condition assessment, financial feasibility and revenue projections, market assessment, motorist surveys, patronage and vehicle demand estimation, lease development and contract negotiation, and design/construction oversight have been instrumental in helping to re-image interstate rest areas and service plazas.
© 2011 – 2013, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.