The St. Paul City Council recently voted unanimously to ban overnight parking for semis, box trucks, and even RVs to some extent. The 7-0 vote sends a strong message to the men and women who deliver more than 72 percent of America’s goods and materials — there’s no room at the inn.
“Our streets just aren’t built for semitrailers, but at the same time, these are workers,” council member Nelsie Yang reportedly said. “We need cities to be working together to find solutions.”
St. Paul followed neighboring Minneapolis that banned overnight truck parking ban in 2021. The trend of banning truckers from parking overnight has also emerged in New York City, among others. There, first-term Mayor Eric Adams turned the ordinance into something of a media circus, as he enjoyed a photo-op of a trucker’s big rig getting towed. In St. Paul, the Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) expressed its collective frustration.
“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,” an MTA press release states. “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.”
Despite the logic and outrage, city politicians pushed the measure through. What St. Paul, like Minneapolis, New York, and other cities, did not address was adding safe parking to offset the loss. The MTA noted that “98 percent of truck drivers regularly experience difficulties finding safe parking — a sharp uptick from the 75 percent figure reported just four years earlier.”
The number of truck drivers on the road today is at an all-time high. Little has been done to fund public truck parking facilities. Truckers have the option of paying high fees that eat into their livelihoods or laying up in sometimes risky, unlit places. In St. Paul, overnight truck parking can run $15-$20 per night for a dirt lot or upwards of $2,000 annually.
Reports indicate the ban would impact 200 truck drivers in St. Paul and upwards of 300 from Minneapolis. The state has no reported plans to increase legitimate truck parking in St. Paul before the ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.