Truck drivers in Canada say that truck parking has become even more scarce in the last few years, causing a “really dangerous” situation for themselves and the public.
According to truck driver Lynne Fortin, the number of truck parking spaces in British Columbia have been decreasing in the last few years, even as demand for shipping has increased.
“Often I find myself sleeping on the exit of a freeway until a cop tells me I have to move,” she said to Global News CA. “I drive and my eyes are burning, and I know I need to stop but I can’t find a place to get into.”
One example of this dwindling parking is a private lot off the Trans-Canada highway near Lickman Road in Chilliwack – a place where dozens of truckers used to be able to stop for the night. Now, the owner of the lot, which is privately owned, has erected concrete barriers to prevent drivers from stopping there, but no new spaces have gone up to make up for what has been lost. Additionally, Fortin points out that, even when there is truck parking, the spots are often taken up by people in RVs, tents, and even regular cars. This problem is most prominent at public rest stops.
“When you’re not getting the sleep that you need you’re coming out here and you’re a hazard to everybody, and it’s really dangerous,” she said. “Help us out. We’re bringing in the goods … we’re not asking for a lot.”
There are more than 100 public truck stops along major highways in B.C., but there are very few west of Hope. President and CEO of the BC Trucking Association, Dave Earle, says that his organization is working to improve the quantity and quality of rest stops in the province, but the work is slow going.
“For decades we haven’t invested what we need to in our commercial goods infrastructure,” he said. “Right now, there’s just not nearly enough places for vehicles to pull over, for drivers to be able to get out of their units, grab a cup of coffee, to use the facilities and get back on the road safely.”
Currently, construction is underway on the North Surrey Truck Parking Facility off Highway 17, but the place will not be completed until 2023, and even then it will only feature 106 truck parking spots.
“When completed, the site will have room for 106 commercial trucks and include washroom facilities with showers, a sani-dump, and security measures such as fences and lighting,” reads a statement from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“While still in early planning stages, truck facilities are being considered as part of the Fraser Valley Highway 1 Corridor Improvement Program,” the organization added.