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Citywide semi truck parking ban passes in St. Paul

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Yesterday, city officials in St. Paul, Minnesota, voted unanimously in favor of a citywide truck parking ban.

On May 24, the St. Paul City Council approved a new semi truck parking ordinance by a 7 to 0 vote.

The new ordinance forbids parking for any vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds throughout St. Paul “unless such vehicle is actually and expeditiously engaged in the loading or unloading of passengers or materials from the vehicle, or is actually engaged in the providing of services at that location.”

The truck parking ban will go into effect on January 1, 2024.

In the summer of 2021, Minneapolis city leaders approved a similar citywide truck parking ban.

The Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) issued a statement on the St. Paul truck parking ban prior to the City Council vote, which you can read below:

The Minnesota Trucking Association strongly opposes the truck parking ban under consideration by the City of St. Paul. 

The economy is struggling, small trucking companies are closing their doors and the trucking industry is facing a shortage of qualified drivers. At a time when we should be removing barriers, this proposed ordinance erects new ones. 

The proposed ordinance will reduce overall efficiency and cut into precious available driving hours for truck drivers forced to park outside of St. Paul. It is a simple fact that to meet narrow pick-up and delivery windows, trucks need to park close to their St. Paul customers. When Minneapolis passed a similar ordinance some drivers were forced to park in remote fee-based lots as far away as St. Cloud. 

Many of the trucks parked overnight are owned by independent contractors who live within St. Paul. These small businesses, many of whom are owned by people of color, have no viable overnight parking alternative. This ban could effectively force these residents to cease operations and lose their livelihood.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), 98 percent of truck drivers regularly experience difficulties finding safe parking—a sharp uptick from the 75 percent figure reported just four years earlier. USDOT also found that the truck parking shortage exists in every state and region. Year after year, truck drivers have indicated that the parking shortage is one of the top three challenges they face, rising to number one in 2022.

Despite repeated requests during the recently completed Session, the Minnesota Legislature failed to appropriate funds to expand truck parking. 

We urge St. Paul to step up and craft a real solution that balances parking management concerns with the need to support efficient freight flow and these small businesses on wheels.

The professional truck drivers who deliver our essential food, medicine and supplies through good times and bad deserve better.

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