Ontario should tackle “large, systemic and persistent parking shortages,” the author of a study which called for 350 new parking spaces over three years.
Study author Ted Harvey of SPR Associates’ told Today’s Trucking, gave the province credit for addressing the issue but said more must be done beyond existing commitments.
The provincial government recently announced plans to create 178 new spaces at four existing ONroute travel plazas, improve 14 existing rest areas, and build 10 new rest areas. In the wake of Covid-19, it has also introduced portable washrooms at highway scales.
Truck drivers surveyed in the study expressed experiences with lack of truck parking and shared stories of being chased out of industrial areas when forced to park there, reports TT.
Ontario lost close to 1,000 truck parking spaces in recent years with the closure of private truck stops and rest aeras, the research found.
The province is not alone in the challenge, Harvey added.
“It’s a big issue everywhere,” he says. “It seems generally to be a big problem, and very similar to that across all of North America.”
Broader solutions — potentially drawn together by provincially-formed working groups — could include off-season parking at locations such as the CNE grounds, temporarily repurposing lands designated for future projects like a Pickering airport, and reaching out to municipalities to identify other areas that can be used, he says.
“Especially in the GTA area, municipal planning departments expressed great interest in doing more,” Harvey adds, noting how truck parking is seen as a draw for business investments.
The parking lots established by big box retailers could offer other alternatives, he says, noting that a Walmart executive showed interest in hearing a proposal from the province. Land swaps through public-private partnerships are identified as another option.
Full story here.