CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s estimated that for every 11 truck drivers on the road, there is only one parking spot available. That leaves truck drivers scrambling at the end of their shift to find anywhere to pull over and rest.
“There are a lot of truck stops and rest areas, but there’s still not enough space for the truck drivers,” said driver Abdul Ali.
“You run out of time and there’s nowhere to park and everywhere you go there’s no truck parking signs,” said driver James Love.
Most truckers resort to parking along side streets near truck stops or even on ramps leading to and from busy interstates.
“Ramps aren’t safe anyways, so I never do ramps,” Love said. “At night with the lights on like that right there, somebody can mistake that as you riding down the road and rear-end you.”
North Carolina transportation officials want to put an end to park-along exits. Crews are installing enough “No Parking” signs to make it impossible for truck drivers to park on the Sam Wilson ramps. Regulators tell Queen City News they recognize the challenge truck drivers face when it comes to parking. They say it’s a national issue they’re working to fix.
“In addition to the private side, we are talking with NCDOT and how we can possibly use some of the older weigh stations that aren’t currently in use,” said Charlotte DOT Director Debbie Smith.
City leaders are partnering with private owners of parking lots along interstates. Jack Conlan has six of them. He says enforcement is one way to tackle the problem, but the infrastructure also needs to catch up.
“How do you provide unique solutions and right now it’s the small business owners or businesses that see the need and then are getting into it,” Conlan said.
The signs will stretch the entire length of the four ramps here along Sam Wilson. One driver recommended mandating the truck stops to offer more parking spaces to begin with.