Charlotte looking to solve the problem of truckers parking big rigs in neighborhoods

Trucks parked off north Charlotte road
Trucks parked off north Charlotte road(Source: WBTV-Colleen Harry)
Updated: Jan. 22, 2019 at 5:58 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Bonnie Gable lives near the intersection of Mallard Creek Road and Galloway. Lately, something has been frustrating Gable and her neighbors.

“It’s getting worse - seems like each week we almost always have two or three trucks parked just beyond the lawn service repair shop,” said Gable. “The noise and just having the trucks there all the time because they are often sitting there with their engines running the whole time that they’re sitting there.”

There are a lot of tractor trailers on the interstates in the greater Charlotte area - moving freight and keeping the local economy going. Federal regulations say truck drivers have to stop after a certain amount of hours of driving.

Some truckers stop on on-ramps.

Troopers say as long as truck drivers don’t create a traffic hazard, they allow them to park on off and on ramps - but not for extended periods of time. Troopers say they usually give drivers 24 hours or less to stay on ramps.

But, the issue got so bad on the Statesville Avenue ramp to I85N, transportation workers placed no parking signs on the ramp.

Now, the problem seems to be shifting from ramps to some neighborhoods.

“We get complaints from neighbors all the time about big tractor trailers parked on the side of the road, in residential areas so that's what we're trying to get a handle on" said Charlotte City Council member Greg Phipps.

City leaders say truck parking is a complicated national problem.

The city does have an ordinance that prohibits parking tractor trailers in residential areas but as more neighborhoods see the trucks parked on their local streets, city leaders say they’re trying to come up with solutions.

“And thought we could tackle it using signs and fines approach but with the fines being only 25 bucks – I mean it’s nothing. It’s not really a deterrent so it’s not as simple as that," said Phipps. “It’s a bigger problem, a systemic problem so we’re going to take a more concerted effort to alleviate that problem working with NC D-O-T and Centralina Council of Governments to come up with creative ways to help with truck parking situation of tractor trailers.”

“There’s just not enough places to park a truck nowadays. Cities are getting bigger, lots of truck places are getting smaller. It’s just part of the business of cities growing and getting bigger,” said truck driver Michael Wilson of Virginia. “Parking is a really big issue especially in the middle of the day or later in the afternoon when everybody is trying to park for the end of the day - you know running out of hours on the clock - they’re trying to find somewhere to be.”

Truck drivers say there are only so many spots at rest areas. They say truck stops fill up quickly. As the region grows, and more trucks are on the road – space is shrinking. But they say federal regulations that say stop - when hours are up - mean stop.

Wilson says he doesn’t park in neighborhoods or on-ramps.

“Usually I try to find a spot before my federal time is up. I give myself at least an hour, hour and half before the end of my time to be up to find a place to park in case I run into that problem” said Wilson.

Bonnie Gable – over near Mallard Creek Road – wishes the truckers who park near her neighborhood would stop leaving their tractor trailers there.

“I understand the trucks have rules and regulations and they have to pull off the road at a certain point. I don’t know if there’s a better place for them to pull but it’s a bit frustrating and I don’t know if it’s causing any traffic issues or not,” said Gable. “For me personally it’s more of a nuisance but I think it could become a safety issue as well.”

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