(To read TRUCK PARKING: Necessity-1, click here: https://shorturl.at/fINY6 )
The first installment of this series ended with the following:
“Just as the trucking industry is critical to our nation’s economic success and way of life, safe and accessible truck parking is critical to the people who drive trucks, the traveling public, and the broader community,” says the Truck Parking Development Handbook published by the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, released in September 2022.”
What has the community got to do with truck parking?
Plenty. Before we delve deep into what the American govt document provides, let us peek outside for a change.
Heard of Stop3000Trucks.org?
I was unaware of this until I stumbled upon this report in the Financial Times, London (July 11, 2023).
The relevant portion is:
“Property executives and e-commerce companies argue that warehousing closer to residential areas means shorter journeys, lower emissions, and more jobs. However, protesters are concerned about the impact on their living standards and the increased traffic.”
It is where Stop3000trucks.org chips in, which is organizing the protest.
“They are opposing plans for nine storage units and more than 90 HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) loading bays to be built between the villages of Cosgrove and Old Stratford, which they claim could create up to 3,000 lorry journeys through the area daily.”
Employment promises and lower emissions don’t cut much ice with society. Nobody wants the truck movement anywhere in the vicinity of their residential colonies. Period.
Undoubtedly, the entire populace wants their daily needs to be met unfailingly. It has to be achieved with no disturbance in the neighborhood. But ‘no’ to truck entry.
Precisely, for this purpose, the bypass culture emerged. Vehicles, both passenger and freight, avoid the city or residential areas and thus bypass them on an arterial road. All are happy.
Nobody argues against truck parking for long haulers. Their objection: do it, but not in my vicinity! The government cannot wash its hands off. It has to do monkey balancing!
The American Truck Parking Handbook concedes the local objections. “Averting in undesignated improves community safety for all and reduces maintenance costs for repairing highway shoulders, ramps, and private property not designated for heavy vehicle parking. … Communities often express concern about the impact of truck intensive development on community livability. … A well-planned, well-designed and appropriately sited truck parking facilities are positive attributes for economic development that can support community livability goals.”
Forget about truck parking in cities. What about our approach to truck parking on highways? Plenty. On paper. What does it say?
“There are no organized wayside amenities, maintenance and repair facilities, and parking spaces along highways. Indiscriminate parking of trucks on highways and carriageways of towns and cities encroaches upon space reserved for pedestrians and moving vehicles.
The government sponsored the Truck Operators Highway Amenities Society (TOHAS) to address this issue and introduced the Passenger Wayside Amenities Scheme. But these initiatives had to be shelved due to the lack of necessary support from state administrations and the lack of response from truck operators.
Besides resting facilities, trucks also need a terminal where the journey may commence or end and prepare for the next assignment. Saxena, among many others, has mentioned that the absence of truck terminals has resulted in on-street handling of goods and parking, creating further congestion in urban centers,” wrote Dr. Bibek Debroy and Dr. P D Kaushik of Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies more than a decade ago in “A Background Paper on Barriers to Inter-state Trade and Commerce — The Case of Road Transport.”
The policy is clear: “Site should be sufficiently away from urban influence and any other wayside complexes.”
The concern over truck parking is also a recent phenomenon in the United States. The murder of 35-year-old truck driver Jason Rivenburg on March 4, 2009, while he parked his vehicle at an empty gas station for a night stay because the factory where he was expected to unload was shut for the day led to the creation of Jason’s law under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act in 2012.
Thus cornered, the US government makes truck parking a national priority, and the US DOT has to evaluate the need for safe truck parking regularly. Truck parking continues to be a thorny issue from an enforcement angle. Tired drivers drive illegally beyond permitted hours or park illegally wherever they find space to comply with Hours of Service rules. Luckily, there is no legislation about truck driver timing. If authorities began penalizing illegally parked trucks on Indian highways, there would be no end to it because the concept of truck parking in specified areas is non-existent.
Forget about parking on highways. Even big companies have not provided adequate parking facilities for vehicles with inbound stuff or waiting for finished goods movement outside the manufacturing site. Warehouse on Wheels (WoW) is very common in India.
More about the WoW phenomenon in the next dispatch.
(To be continued)