Alongside a proposed ban on truck parking throughout Minneapolis, the Minneapolis City Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee has recently voted to begin fining violators of the new mandate.
The current ordinance throughout the city prohibits trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds from parking in residentially-zoned streets, although the weight cap does not apply to other areas. The Transportation and Public Works Committee deliberated this topic at the end of June, and revisited the topic for further consideration this month.
On July 14th, the committee approved a measure that would introduce fine gradations in relation to truck parking violations. These fines will begin at $100 per violation on January 1st of next year, rise to $150 on January 1st of 2023, and in 2024, would rise to $250 per violation.
This comes as an amendment to the previous proposal that called for fines reaching $250 by January 1st, 2023.
“This change gives a certain amount of grace to drivers while continuing to increase the fines,” explained Ward 6-representing Council Member Jamal Osman, who noted that many people in his community work as truck drivers.
These newly-proposed fines come as a response to both business and resident complaints which claimed that many trucks were obstructing fire hydrants, street signs, and car and bicycle travel lanes, as well as reducing the amount of guest parking availability and creating an abundance of noise and litter.
A measure was also approved that would urge the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development to collaborate with other groups in working toward implementing more spaces for truck parking throughout Minneapolis. The measure noted that these efforts should include railroad companies and commercial property owners, as well.
Another provision requesting that the Intergovernmental Relations staff of Minneapolis work alongside regional partners like the League of Minnesota Cities to find solutions regarding truck parking obstacles throughout the Twin Cities was approved, as was a provision directing city staff to report on the city’s overall truck parking capability development and the progress of enforcement and education efforts regarding these potential regional solutions. The report should be delivered to the council by the fourth quarter of 2022, the provision stated.
In regards to the newly-instated truck parking ban, all trucks weighing more than 26,000 pounds would be prohibited from parking on any street within the city of Minneapolis unless they have stopped due to a police officer’s direction, they are actively loading or unloading, or they are situated in a zone with signage which allows for the parking of these heavy vehicles.
As can be expected, these proposed restrictions have been met with strong opposition from the trucking industry–the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Minnesota Trucking Association were both quick to bring to attention the Minneapolis-dwelling independent contractors who have to park their trucks somewhere overnight.
“The Minnesota Trucking Association is extremely disappointed,” said John Hausladen, President of the MTA. “The language adopted today puts the city in a purely reactive role, providing interested parties with only site search assistance. Language asking for greater regional solutions is all good, but it doesn’t change the fact [that] starting January 1st, 2022, trucks will be ticketed for parking on Minneapolis city streets with no new safe parking options.”
For these truckers, there must at least be options for them to park their big rigs at rest areas with restrooms and food options, added Todd Spencer, President of OOIDA.
“In other words, a lot of trucks probably park in Minneapolis because they simply lack any reasonable alternative,” he said.
This mandate comes at a time when truck parking capacity is a well-known issue for the entire trucking industry across the United States–a problem currently ranking third on the American Transportation Research Institute’s report on Top Industry Issues.