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Officials in St. Louis Park, Minn., are moving forward with an ordinance that would limit truck parking.
According to the ordinance, it would be unlawful for any person to park a semi-trailer, truck tractor, tow truck or vehicle with more than 12,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight on public streets marked by posted signs prohibiting the parking of such vehicles.
The city manager or designated representative would be authorized to post such signs as directed by the resolution of the council.
St. Louis Park is 6 miles west of downtown Minneapolis, where a similar ordinance is working its way through the regulatory process.
READ MORE: Minneapolis City Council Committee OKs Amended Truck Parking Ban
The first reading of the St. Louis Park ordinance at the St. Louis Park City Council meeting was July 6. The second reading is scheduled for Aug. 2, and it is set to take effect Aug. 27.
St. Louis Park Ordinance by Transport Topics on Scribd
Currently under St. Louis Park regulations, commercial vehicles and trailers are not allowed to park in any residential district. There are no large vehicle restrictions in areas zoned as commercial, industrial, office, mixed use or park.
Debra Heiser, engineering director for St. Louis Park, described the ordinance as a mechanism for city officials to be responsive to constituents’ concerns. Under the ordinance, when city representatives receive concerns, they will evaluate them and potentially make a recommendation to the council to restrict trucks in that area. The council would have the ability to give direction to erect signs prohibiting truck parking in the area of concern.
“Our city council didn’t want to do a blanket ban,” Heiser told Transport Topics. “They really recognize the importance of trucks to our well-being. When it comes right down to it, freight’s important.”
Heiser said residents started voicing concerns regarding truck parking on a frontage road adjacent to County Road 25 about four years ago. Complaints mentioned trucks parked on both sides of the road narrowed the corridor, making it difficult for other vehicles to pass through. Also, trucks blocked visibility at driveways, intersections and local businesses.
Minnesota Trucking Association President John Hausladen said truck parking restrictions in cities are only going to exacerbate supply chain challenges.
“While we are not pleased to see increased truck parking prohibitions, it is good to see that the city of St. Louis Park is taking a sign-posting zone approach rather than banning all truck parking,” Hausladen said.
MTA has strongly opposed truck parking restrictions that have been considered in Minneapolis. There, the city council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee on July 14 voted in favor of amendments introducing gradual fines to accompany a proposed ban on truck parking in the city. The committee discussed the controversial issue during a public hearing June 23, but the full council referred the matter back to the committee for further consideration in early July. The measure is expected to go before the full council again July 23.
Although St. Louis Park leaders are aware of the proposal in Minneapolis, Heiser said the city’s action is not directly tied to it. She said that the St. Louis Park City Council has been considering the issue of truck parking for a while.
Freight is important in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, trucks move an estimated 85% of all manufactured goods in the state.
MnDOT’s Statewide Truck Parking Study shows there are 4,846 truck parking spaces across the state.
Stephen Burks, a professor at the University of Minnesota-Morris who specializes in trucking, said the issue of truck parking is challenging because regional and national freight needs conflict with local desires for autonomy and control over streets. He said local concerns, which are targeted and concentrated, tend to override more diffuse, larger-scale concerns.
Burks, who spent 10 years as a truck driver, said the consideration of federal investment in truck parking would probably be appropriate.
A highway bill recently approved by the U.S. House of Representatives included $1 billion for truck parking purposes.
Currently, states generally rely on variable message signs to inform truckers of parking availability.
“That doesn’t solve the underlying supply versus demand mismatch, particularly the fact that the supply versus demand mismatch is sort of geographically specific and local to each particular area,” Burks told TT. “The places where it’s easy to put parking are the places where it’s probably not as much needed.”
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