A county in Florida is experiencing some serious unrest as officials look to solve the truck parking deficit in the area.
Just a few years ago, civic leaders and citizens alike banned together to oppose the plan for a giant truck stop along Interstate 4 in West Volusia, Florida. Now, the plan for the truck stop is back, and if citizens want to continue having stocked shelves, they might just have to learn to live with it.
While there are a few truck parking spots at rest stops along I-4 in Longwood (37 to be exact), there just aren’t enough to sustain the growing population of a state that is now the third largest in the nation.
Despite opposition from citizens and civic leaders in the last few years, the Florida Department of Transportation, along with the Transportation Planning Organization, has commissioned an official feasibility study on the need for truck parking and potential locations for a truck parking facility.
So far, FDOT has proposed adding 500 truck parking spaces along the I-4 corridors in Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties. These parking spaces could be added as one giant lot, or as many as four lots with 125 spaces a piece.
“Maybe at the interchange of I-4 and [State Road] 472,” said River to Sea Transportation Planning Organization Executive Director Lois Bollenback to The Beacon. That junction is already expected to experience an increase of development with the recent construction of a new Amazon distribution center and plans for a new Halifax Health hospital and a medical campus.
“They have identified a deficit of truck parking availability on I-4,” Bollenback continued. “On I-4, the only truck parking from [U.S. Highway] 92 is the Longwood station.”
As the study moves forward and the potential for an increase in truck parking looms nearer, civic leaders are pointing to the heightened safety the truck parking lots will bring as a way to ease residents into the idea.
“It’s a serious problem,” Volusia County Chair Jeff Brower said. “It’s a real safety problem, because drivers spend so much time driving around looking for a place to park, and they could fall asleep at the wheel.”
“We have not adequately provided parking for trucks,” Bollenback said. “You don’t want rigs idling in a neighborhood.”