Help may be on the way to ease the problem of big trucks parking in residential areas and clogging up the local streets of Surrey and surrounding communities.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone says there’s a serious shortage of parking and staging areas for trucks across the Lower Mainland and the province is now aiming to open new ones.
“We are exploring a number of potential locations South of the Fraser for short-term parking facilities between Abbotsford and Delta to improve efficiency and reduce congestion,” he said Friday in a speech in Surrey to the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce.
Stone said he’s heard repeated calls for a solution to the problem from both the city and Surrey-area MLAs, and said it’s now a “top priority.”
An additional staging area for container trucks is expected to be opened in partnership with Port Metro Vancouver near Deltaport, he added.
“The purpose of this staging area will be to reduce congestion and queueing on provincial highways and local roads, allowing truckers to safely park and turn off their engines, which will reduce idling and also help improve air quality.”
More details are expected to come in the weeks ahead.
Stone said he expects to release the new provincial transportation plan – dubbed B.C. On the Move – sometime this month and said it will be accompanied by a trucking strategy aimed at easing goods movement issues, including the parking shortage.
Stone said staging areas may be opened with private partners who could offer additional amenities.
The City of Surrey has previously estimated about half of the more than 12,000 heavy trucks registered within Surrey have no legal place to park, and that dozens of acres of new land are needed every year to accommodate growth in trucking.
One significant concern has been that trucks without a proper parking area increasingly end up occupying agricultural land, which can then be contaminated by leaking fluids.