A recent report out of New Jersey highlights the dire nature of the state’s parking situation as dozens of truckers are forced to park illegally along a dangerous stretch of I-287 every night.
The report from NJ.com says that semis line up and idle on I-287 in Mahwah every night even though there are signs forbidding truck parking on the shoulder.
Police Say They Don’t Have The Resources To Stop Semi Shoulder Parking
Mahwah police say that they simply don’t have the resources to stop the drivers from parking on the I-287 shoulder. Said Chief of Police James Batelli, “We come along and move them but an hour later they are back. We can’t continue to allocate resources every night.” State police have also tried to help with parking enforcement but they also say that trucks return soon after they are moved.
Batelli also notes that the shoulder where truckers are congregating every night is unsafe because of sharp inclines and because traffic narrows from three lanes to two.
Truckers Say That They Don’t Have Much Choice About Shoulder Parking
Additionally, when police confront truckers, most of them say that it might be illegal to park, but as they are out of hours, it would also be illegal (and unsafe) for them to keep driving.
The truckers parking along I-287 say that they would like to park elsewhere, but that the state offers few parking options for them. Said one driver, “If you don’t arrive at a truck stop by 1 to 2 p.m. in New York or New Jersey you won’t get a spot.”
Not everyone believes that the drivers have no choice. Mahwah mayor Bill Laforet believes that the drivers are simply using the I-287 shoulder because it is more convenient than using Route 17. Laforet also says he doesn’t see a clear solution to the problem: “The ultimate thing is for them to have a place to rest but the price of real estate doesn’t make that a reality. There’s no practical answer.”
The New Jersey Department of Transportation reminds drivers that it is illegal to stop on the shoulders of state highway except in an emergency.