Big Rig Haven

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

Since Wal-Mart came to Woodstock, the truck traffic has increased. The big rigs make deliveries and might do some shopping, too.

"I'll stop in and eat and maybe sometimes I'll get something from Wal-Mart," says Neil Huddleston, a UPS truck driver from Roanoke.

But some shop owners say the trucks can be a nuisance.

Manuel Rodriguez, Owner and Manager of Domino's Pizza, says, "I've complained because sometimes three or four park in front of our store and that reduces visibility of our business and that creates a problem."

Rodriquez says he's counted as many as thirty trailers in a lot with signs clearly prohibiting truck parking.

Bill Moyers, Woodstock Mayor, says despite signs promising enforcement by the local police force, the town can't do anything.

"The police could come on this property, no problem, but as for enforcing shopping center parking regulations, we have to be asked to do that," Moyers says.

One trucker agrees that the signs are empty threats.

"They don't enforce 'em. They say it's okay as long as you come in and leave," says Huddleston.

An Interstate-81 study says that public rest areas only handle 20 percent of the demand for truck parking and that 84 percent of truck stops are continuously overcrowded.

The Woodstock lot has helped meet the need and keep truckers off highway shoulders and exit ramps.

Lee Klass, a trucker from Portland, Oregon, says, "It's safer here. It's well lit. There are some wide turn-around places."

Some customers don't mind the truckers. But others worry about driving hazards, cleanliness and safety. Still, Moyers says the town won't step in until the lot's owner asks it to.

Moyers also says there have been a number of fender benders in the lot, but no significant damage yet. And barriers have been built to keep the truckers confined to one area.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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