Truck drivers, no more parking semis on St. Paul streets

Truck drivers who park their semis on St. Paul streets overnight have until Jan. 1 to come up with alternate arrangements.

The St. Paul City Council voted 7-0 on Wednesday to restrict parking for overweight and commercial vehicles citywide when they’re not in active use. Council members Nelsie Yang and Jane Prince said the ordinance delays enforcement until 2024, giving the city and trucking community seven months to look for parking locations that might be suitable alternatives, such as renting private commercial lots that are empty overnight.

During a recent roundtable with the trucking community, truckers said they were open to paying for overnight parking, provided it was priced affordably, Yang said.

“Our streets just aren’t built for semitrailers, but at the same time, these are workers,” said Yang, who is calling for the state Legislature to invest in a truck parking facility for the Twin Cities. “We need cities to be working together to find solutions.”

The two council members represent swathes of the East Side where many drivers — especially immigrants — have become independent contractors for trucking firms. Prince said the rules would impact an estimated 200 truck drivers citywide, in addition to another 300 or so in Minneapolis, which passed similar restrictions about a year ago.

Prince said the city would be closely monitoring the Minneapolis experience to see how it unfolds, but she acknowledged that swift implementation in Minneapolis created a parking crisis. “It’s a metro-wide issue,” she said.

Under the St. Paul ordinance, no vehicle, with or without load, weighing more than 26,000 pounds “shall be permitted to stop, stand or park on any street or alley unless such vehicle is actually and expeditiously engaged in the loading or unloading of passengers or materials from the vehicle, or is actually engaged in the providing of services at that location … unless otherwise provided by law.”

Lesser restrictions apply to small trucks. Under the ordinance, no commercial vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds can be parked in a street or alley in, or abutting, a residential neighborhood, including a mixed or “traditional neighborhood” zoning district.

In addition, no recreational vehicle or combination of vehicles 22 or more feet in length and seven feet or more in width may be parked on any street or alley for more than 30 minutes. Exceptions to the rules would include mobile food trucks, school buses and vehicles under the control of a police officer.

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