As warehouses and the consequent truck traffic continues to increase in South Johnson County, it’s imperative city planners, elected officials and developers actively encourage private parking facilities or that developers provide adequate overflow spaces for businesses reliant on heavy haul commercial traffic.
It’s a safety issue.
Statewide, as well as nationwide, parking for heavy haul trucks is a concern. The Kansas Department of Transportation and Kansas Turnpike Authority recently completed a study with a goal of improving Kansas’ freight network’s safety, efficiency and competitiveness.
The study, which concluded this spring, includes four recommendations:
• Improve parking information and sharing
• Add or improve parking assets
• Explore creating parking improvement partnerships
• And examine pro-parking policies for freight trucks.
Locally, there has been no push for additional parking, but rather parking spaces are based on business needs and are developer-driven.
Because truckers are paid by the mile, and not for their time, there is no incentive for businesses to add additional spots; it’s often more cost-effective to “stack” trucks as they wait to be unloaded.
Stacking, and the fact that truckers are regulated as to minimum sleeping requirements, exacerbates the already tight parking situation. Drivers who must wait beyond their allocated time to load or unload will scramble to park – oftentimes in areas that are not designated parking areas, such as the Gardner Walmart parking lot.
While in the ideal world, one of the areas near Edgerton already zoned for heavy commercial use (truck stop)would develop, in this economy there is no guarantee when market conditions will make it profitable for a private enterprise.
In the meantime, developers and businesses should be encouraged – strongly – to provide overflow parking. City planners, and the formulas they use, should require adequate parking for “stacking” trucks and not wait for the state or federal authorities to mandate it.
It’s about safety.