Graphic courtesy of Mid America Regional Council

Burns and McDonald truck traffic count

This grahic shows the results of combining the Year 2040 Preferred Scenario model run with the ultimate build-out Intermodal and Warehouse/Distribution Truck Trips. The new Homestead Lane interchange remains the focal point for truck trips to and from the KCIMF, LPKC, and other warehouse/distribution activity within the study area. This is reflected in the high traffic volume on Homestead Lane between 191st Street and 199th Street. The segment of 191st Street, from the KCIMF entrance between Four Corners Road and Waverly Road, is projected to carry 20,000 vehicles per day (vpd) in the Year 2040. The segment of Homestead Lane, from 191st Street to 199th Street is forecast to carry 31,600 vpd. Courtesy of the City of Edgerton and Mid America Regional Council

Truck traffic in the surrounding area has increased, about 2200 vehicles daily at 191 St. near the LPKC entrance; that’s an 89 percent increase between June and October 2014. However, area parking and other amenities for heavy truck traffic growth has not occurred.
“If there were trucking amenities (i.e. truck stop) in Edgerton, the city would receive sales tax from purchases, excluding gas, such as food. Edgerton would also receive property tax,” said Beth Linn, Edgerton city administrator. “There are two properties in Edgerton that are already zoned for Heavy Service Commercial (i.e. truck stop) at I-35 and Homestead on both the west and east side of Homestead Road.”
As of yet, national trucking chains don’t seem interested, and it creates a problem for drivers and a loss of revenue for the area.
“There is a big shortage of parking in Johnson County,” said Albert Rukwaro, independent owner/driver. Rukwaro blamed higher fuel costs as the reason drivers routinely fuel up in other states and says that makes it unprofitable for large truck stops to locate near the intermodal.
Fuel taxes in Kansas are about 8 cents more per gallon.
“I have a 300 gallon tank,” Rukwaro said. “Kansas is very expensive for drivers. They don’t like fueling in Kansas.”
Average annual cost for fuel is probably about $48,000 per year, said Norita Taylor, media spokesperson for Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Parking at large truck fueling stations is usually free because drivers will buy fuel and other items.
Preferred amenities for truckers are: safe and secure parking; option of sit down restaurant and showers.
“The shortage of parking is a national issue, and we (OOID) are part of a committee working on improvements,” Taylor said. “It’s a work in progress. We consider it a safety issue on many fronts.”
At the intermodal near Edgerton, and in Gardner, businesses are only required to provide enough parking for their (business) needs.
Based on the current formula, Kenny Cook, Edgerton community development director, said most businesses at LPKC provide 6-10 parking spaces.
Statewide, parking for heavy haul trucks is a concern. The Kansas Department of Transportation recently teamed with the Kansas Turnpike Authority and completed a study with a goal of improving Kansas’ freight network’s safety, efficiency and competitiveness.
Both Linn and Cheryl Harrison-Lee, Gardner city administrator, said they were unaware of long range local plans to help facilitate truck parking locally.
Local heavy truck parking requirements
There are some private parking facilities in Olathe and Ottawa.
As businesses and warehouses sprout like mushrooms in southern Johnson County, both communities require temporary parking and storage be provided only on site.
“Parking for semi-trucks is very restricted and exists in those business locations that are required to have it for the business or for temporary storage,” Harrison Lee said. “The Wal-Mart parking lot is a not an approved semi-truck parking lot.  It is designed for cars and pickup trucks.”
The number of parking spaces for buildings built at the intermodal specify that a certain number of spaces are required based upon the area of building being proposed, according to Cook, Edgerton community development director. Requirements are that buildings of:
0-9,999 square feet are not required to provide any spaces;
10,000-50,000 – 1 space;
50,001-100,000 – 2 spaces; and,
over 100,000 – 1 additional space per 100,000 square feet.
“Based upon this requirement,” Cook said. “The facilities have typically provided substantially more than these minimum requirements.  I would mention these have been provided in a couple of ways.  First, most of the buildings have been designed to have loading docks along two sides of the building.  While the developer may choose to not install all of the dock doors that could be provided along each side, these areas are designed to be large enough for a tractor and trailer to be parked.  They have also typically included temporary trailer storage spaces.  These spaces are shorter and provide a location for them to place trailers while not actively loading or unloading.”
Providing adequate parking is a nationwide issue for safety reasons, said Taylor. “Truckers are held to strict hours-of-service regulations that limit the hours they drive, requiring them to stop for minimum periods of time. The ability for them to get restorative sleep while travelling the nation’s highways is important for them and all highway users,” Taylor said.
“A major problem connected to this is the inefficiency of the loading and unloading process at shipping/receiving facilities,” she continued. “Truck drivers are paid by the mile and get nothing for their time. Therefore, there is no incentive for shippers or receivers to refrain from keeping them waiting for hours on end to be loaded or unloaded. This frustrates the issue of parking if a driver is made to wait past his allotted time period and left to seek parking that is hard to find or not available at all.”
“It would be great if facilities would step up and provide parking as well as be more efficient in loading and unloading,” she said. The US Department of Transportation is beginning an audit of waiting times.
In Gardner, buildings are also required to have enough parking to serve only their needs.
“The current planning process only takes parking into account when a facility is being planned and thus the parking is built for that business use — usually without additional parking requirements,” said Harrison-Lee.
“All businesses have to allow parking for both regular-sized vehicles and for semi-truck parking.  The amount of space needed is determined by the businesses,” Harrison-Lee continued. “Several factors are considered such as truck turnover rate, number of loading docks, and length of storage per trailer before it is loaded or shipped. In addition, parking for employees, visitors and other items have to be taken into account.”
Truck amenities are also scarce in Gardner.
“In Gardner, resting and shower facilities are limited at this time to the one motel that is located at 175th street and I-35 interchange,” said Cheryl Harrison-Lee, Gardner city administrator. “Fuel and food is limited to the Phillips station on Gardner Road.  All of the convenience stores in Gardner are designed for regular traffic. The fuel dispensing areas are not designed for large trucks.“
State wide parking initiative
”Because truckers are restricted to the number of hours they can drive, they must be able to easily find parking without burning fuel and time looking for a place to safely get off the road,” Mike King, KDOT transportation secretary. “And, in winter weather, it’s not unusual to see lines of trucks backed up along freeway entrance and exit ramps, sometimes stretching to the actual roadway. This study will help us find solutions that give drivers an efficient means of finding available parking when they must get off the road.”
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.
A $25 million federal grant awarded this year to Kansas and seven other Midwestern states will give Kansas a jump start on implementing the recommendation for improved parking information and sharing through the Truck Parking Information and Management System. Through the use of electronic message signs, traveler information websites and smartphone apps, truckers in the eight-state region will be able to know in real time where safe, adequate parking is available and best meets their needs.