Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Trucks Bring It, Give Them A Place To Park

I'm not sure about the hiding, but I'm pretty sure there's a lot of napping going on here.
Yeah, so this happened yesterday, an article published in The Morning Call - a daily newspaper based in Allentown, Pennsylvania - about how the Lehigh Valley Workforce Development Board wants to steer more people into trucking jobs.


Why you ask?

Because just in the last month, The Morning Call, who seems to publish an inordinate amount of articles about truck traffic, ran several pieces about how they needed to get trucks OUT of their Pennsylvania towns. Here are just three:

On October 5th, this piece was published, talking about Upper Macungie Township's continuing attempt to keep truck traffic off certain roads in their township.

Then there was this article, on October 17th, telling us that a trucking ban in Lower Nazareth is being considered because of all the "napping truckers".

And finally, this article, on October 23rd, talks about how tractor-trailers are creating a "truckload of problems" in the Lehigh Valley, the area where all the concerned municipalities are located.

I'm thinking Sarah Wojcik, Anthony Salamone, Kevin Duffy, and Margie Peterson should get together and have a meeting. Sarah talks about a township that has restricted trucks from several roads leading to and from areas where trucking facilities and distribution centers are located, Anthony is reporting on how Lehigh Valley wants trucking jobs in their communities, Kevin is reporting that Lehigh Valley officials are looking into ways to deter truckers from parking where they shouldn't be (because they're doing nefarious things like "napping and sleeping"), and Margie is writing about how tractor-trailers are bringing a truckload of problems to the area.

See how clever she was with that play on words there? Truckload of problems. Ha! You're killing me here.

I find it even more fascinating that among all of this writing about banning trucks, John Lamirand, a research specialist with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. plainly said, "If you bought it, it's likely a trucker brought it to you."  Well, no shit. 

Knowing that, I'm kinda thinking the whining about the truck traffic should be nothing more than a mere whisper. 

Such conflict they seem to be dealing with.  They want these big warehouses and distribution centers in the Lehigh Valley, which provide them with jobs and revenue for their communities - from companies like True Value Hardware, WalMart, Crayola, Bimbo Bakery, Ocean Spray, Amazon, Target, FedEx, Uline, Nestlé, Walgreens, Coca-Cola, BMW, Curtiss-Wright, and Kraft Foods to name a few - they just don't want the icky trucks that come along with them. They've even attracted Primark, an Irish clothing retailer, who recently decided to open their first U.S. distribution center in Bethlehem.

The 700-acre Lehigh Valley Industrial Park - one of the many in the area - seems happy to have so many tenants. In fact, the Lehigh Valley, in general, is proud to be "one of the fastest growing regions in the country" for logistics and distribution companies.

I understand the concern for safety and the need for truck routes (wouldn't it be great if there were TRUCK ONLY routes?), and it seems some of these communities are working on options for this, but when you 
start saying things like "ban" and "restrict big rigs", and talk about how truckers are "hiding" and  "napping" (Heavens!) between hauls to and from the locations they service, you're not making any friends in the trucking community.  In fact, you're just pissing off the very people who, in part, make it possible for you to have those jobs and revenue.

By the way, a roundabout to control traffic isn't the best option when it's also a route that will be used by trucks. Have you ever tried to get a vehicle over 70 feet long to go in a neat circle, around plants and decorative rocks and pretty pavers? Not gonna happen.

Perhaps these communities should have considered - before their eyes got as big as saucers with greed over jobs and revenue (tax and otherwise) - that approving the construction of warehouses in their communities would bring, oh my God, trucks. Who did they think would be picking up and delivering these goods, fairies? 

If it weren't for trucks and truckers, they wouldn't have anyone to transport what these distribution centers distribute. If they want the jobs and revenue generated by these companies, they'll just have to deal with what comes along with it. 

And if they're really concerned about truckers napping behind an Applebee's, why not use some of the money their towns are collecting from all of the warehouses and distribution centers in the area, to create a dedicated parking lot for drivers servicing those centers? We can definitely be lured by a nice open lot, on a truck route, that provides us with a safe place to sleep or park before our next pickup or delivery.

Go ahead, build us a lot. We'll use it. Available, exclusive parking is one of the easiest ways to make a trucker's day.

We're easy like that.

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Belledog said...

Reading your articles today and will comment after. Good work, Salena.

Marlaina said...

Great research -- a la Jon Stewart. Seems there is no editor at The Morning Call. I have no idea why anyone would want to be a truck driver. The working conditions are appalling. And the worst condition is the growing inability to get off the road safely and with toilet facilities when you need to. To comply with the law for our mandated breaks. Or because we think we are tired and, putting safety first, we stop for a break. And the government and agency and associations who are doing parking surveys are failing miserably. Making everything worse, freight is down in 2015 and drivers are sitting longer, waiting on a load, and plugging up spots. There are dozens of rest areas that are closed for no apparent reason. If the citizens of Allentown and other communities want to help themselves, start agitating for the reopening and expansion of rest area. It is not enough but it is a start.