Businesses in a West Virginia town are now offering paid parking after the state’s recent banning of truck parking along a well-used frontage road.
Tractor trailers are no longer allowed to park along the frontage road leading to the Mercer County Solid Waste Authority and the Mercer County Animal Shelter in Princeton as per signs recently erected by the Department of Highways. Now, businesses with extra room are offering to rent their space to truckers willing to pay for parking now that their free spots are gone.
“Yes, it’s my understanding that the Department of Highways has placed No Parking signs there to help curb the amount of parking and the trash that has accumulated on that road,” County Commissioner Greg Puckett said to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph on Tuesday. “I know there were a couple of trailers with some squatters that made residence there. and we know this is an area where people park their trucks. The problem is there isn’t ample parking.”
Puckett says that, while he would love to offer free parking to drivers to replace what was lost, the city simply does not have any extra, open space.
“We know there’s a concern and we’ve heard the question, ‘Where am I supposed to park?’ So we tried to find opportunities, places to park,” Puckett said. “I talked to Gordon Lusk who has a couple of properties he’s willing to rent for monthly fee, but the county does not have any properties that are just open.”
“We don’t have control over the highways and roadways,” Puckett said. “We’d still like to find a solution and we’ll do what we can.”
For now, Gordon Lusk, who owns All-In-1 storage off Coal Heritage Road in Bluefield, will be opening a truck parking area at 420 Hilltop Drive near Princeton. The location used to be a truck stop, and he says semi trucks will be able to park there for a fee.
“We just rented the first one out today,” Lusk said, describing the site as a former truck stop. It currently has room for five to six tractor-trailers, but it could handle around 20, “probably starting by the end of next week.”
Lusk says he is also considering using the old T & N Electric business in Brushfork, which could likely accommodate a few semi trucks as well.
Police in Mercer County say that they will be relaxed about the new truck parking ban for a little while as people figure out a new parking plan, but warns that the state may take more immediate action.
“We kind of wanted to have a grace period,” Christian said. “We’re not going to be as vigilant about it early on to allow folks who depend on that area to park to find another place to park.”
“We’re not going to be towing vehicles out of there directly,” he said. “We may put some notes on vehicles and let them know they can’t park there. That’s not to say the state couldn’t come out and say we want these vehicles towed.”
“The last thing we want to do is hamstring a working man or woman with the economy the way it is,” he said.
The West Virginia State Department of Highways did not respond to requests for comment.