After looking like it might back away from what amounted to a ban on truck parking on the streets of Minneapolis, the city’s legislative body last week went ahead and did just that for bigger vehicles.

The City Council voted 12-1 to modify an existing ban on truck parking in certain residential zoning districts to a citywide ban, with some provisions to try to offset the pain it might inflict on truck drivers. 

Under the ordinance, there is no exception anywhere in the city for larger trucks, defined as in excess of 26,000 pounds. Those are the trucks that generally need lengthy periods of parking to comply with hours-of-service rules, monitored by ELDs. Those trucks are not permitted to “stop, stand or park” on any street in the city. 

The former law banned parking in several separate zoning districts, mostly residential, but did not specify a ban in areas such as industrial zones. 

The latest law sets two categories of trucks: one weighing 10,000 pounds or more or with a gross weight of 12,000 pounds and the second any truck that is over 26,000 pounds.

Under the prior ordinance, trucks weighing more than 6,000 pounds or registered with a gross weight of 9,000 pounds were restricted from parking near six separate residential zoning areas.

The latest ordinance boosts the weight of trucks facing restrictions to 10,000 pounds or 12,000 pounds registered gross weight for trucks seeking to park in those residential areas as well as several other mixed residential districts. It does not specify restrictions on other zoning areas that can be round in the city’s zoning definitions, including industrial areas. 

There are exceptions in both weight categories for trucks that are loading or unloading freight or people, have been directed to park in an area by police officers or are parked in areas that are designed for parking.

In the council’s request for committee action from May, the possibility of having an area designated for parking was featured. “The proposed ordinance amendment does allow for overweight trucks to park on streets that are signed to allow sizes heavier than the general weight restriction,” it said. “Adjacent property owners and businesses will be able to request and pay a fee for these zones to be established. The Department of Public Works will evaluate requests for weight restriction exempt zones and establish them where appropriate.”

Minnesota trucking officials had been hopeful that a rush to approve the parking restrictions was slowed by several factors, including the large number of east African residents of the city involved in the trucking sector and the acknowledgement that trucks are necessary to deliver goods.

Instead, with the council approving the parking ban, it left the state’s main trucking trade group fuming. 

“The Minnesota Trucking Association is extremely disappointed with the action of the Minneapolis City Council,” the group said in a prepared statement. “It not only bans on-street parking for commercial trucks, but it provides no meaningful city resources to address the need for safe truck parking. We should be looking for ways to provide more safe parking for truck drivers instead of pursuing a policy that would diminish an essential industry and do real economic harm to the city.”

There are provisions in the new law that appear to be trying to allow some drivers to not be penalized. For example, the ordinance says that a person wouldn’t be penalized if “another person” is penalized for the violation, which would presumably mean that a driver of a company truck would not get hit if the company pays the fine. It also says the new law doesn’t apply to a lessor of a vehicle if the lessor has a record of who the lessee is. 

The new law also increased fines for violations to $250, up $100 to $150 from earlier provisions. 

Approval of the ordinance does not end what the Minnesota Trucking Association and others had sought: The report that came out of the council’s public works committee did seek further “outreach.”

“Outreach should be made with commercial property owners, institutions and railroad companies to find potential sites for parking,” the committee’s report said. “While parking lots are not a use that is representative of the adopted Minneapolis 2040 plan, the need for this use is important enough that staff should endeavor to develop as many parking spots as is feasible in the city.”

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