Locals are pushing for truck parking enforcement in Charlotte, North Carolina, but officials have failed to come up with any potential solutions to the “no-win situation.”
Residents and city leaders in Charlotte are looking to reduce the number of trucks parking in their city illegally to improve the safety and aesthetics of the city, but Charlotte is yet another place where demand for truck parking exceeds capacity. In fact, the convergence of Interstate 85 and Interstate 77 in Mecklenburg County is considered one of the busiest spots in the nation for truck parking, reported Axios Charlotte.
Currently, City of Charlotte Code Enforcement and the Charlotte Department of Transportation are only leaving educational flyers on semi truck parked on their streets illegally, but the city raised parking fines from $25 to $100 just last week, making for the highest parking fines in North Carolina.
“That’s a deterrent, if it’s enforced,” said Charlotte Resident Antoinette Mingo of the newly raised fines.
“It [illegal truck parking] makes our community look terrible,” Mingo said. “But even more than that, we don’t want an accident to happen, and somebody is killed and a family is impacted, before something is done.”
NCDOT has also placed warning signs along the Interstate 485 ramp to North Tyron Street – where a lot of trucks park illegally – but truckers have taken to simply parking around the corner on Tyron.
“You got to try and find where you can make parking,” said Vindal Ogletree, a trucker of 20 years. “It’s hard out here. You’re in a no-win situation.”
In response to the situation, citizens have formed a “Quality-of-Life Team” aimed at improving the lives of residents. Their first target? Truck parking (and littering). The team has concerns over how strictly the State Highway Patrol is enforcing truck parking laws.
“The folks that are enforcing that understand the legal dynamic that a driver’s in,” said Ben Greenberg, president and CEO of the North Carolina Trucking Association. “They’ve got a federally mandated maximum amount of time that they could drive, but they don’t have a federally guaranteed safe place to park.”
“We recognize the needs of the truck drivers and the commercial vehicle drivers, but we have to consider the residents’ safety first,” said Renee Johnson, the council representative for the University City area. Some in the group have suggested booting, towing and impounding truck drivers who ignore the parking rules, but others say that doesn’t solve the problem, and could cause hardships for the drivers.
Opening up nearby rest areas and weigh stations for truck parking has been proposed, but so far NCDOT has no such plans. As far as private truck parking goes? Industrial zoning is difficult to get approved in Charlotte, making the opening of those types of facilities tricky.
For now, Council members are pushing for enforcement against illegal truck parking, but the mayor, Braxton Winston, warns about overreach, and suggests consulting other cities to come up with an actual solution.
“We should be leaders on the national level,” he said.