Despite promises via the MTO Web site that Ontario's redeveloped service centres would provide "more convenient access" for commercial vehicles, early indications would suggest that in some cases at l...
Despite promises via the MTO Web site that Ontario’s redeveloped service centres would provide “more convenient access” for commercial vehicles, early indications would suggest that in some cases at least, the opposite is true. As you can see on this month’s cover, Ontario’s already abysmal truck parking situation appears to be getting worse -not better -with the reconstruction of the province’s 23 service centres.
At West Lorne, pull-through spots have been replaced with narrow spaces that require a driver to back in, blind-side. And the width between the white lines seems not to account for a truck’s mirrors. Driver James Garvin submitted pictures that show his mirrors overhang the white line even when his tractor-trailer is shoehorned into its allotted space.
On-road editor and full-time professional driver Harry Rudolfs did a quick survey of the 401 rest areas on a recent run to Montreal and back. What he discovered wasn’t much more promising.
Eastbound, Harry advised, “Don’t even think of going into Newcastle.” Concrete barriers will see to that. Wooler Hill currently only has emergency parking for LCVs and Harry said there appears to be police enforcement to ensure those spots aren’t used by a single trailer-toting trucker.
The Odessa Esso/Tim Horton’s complex near Kingston is next, but Harry also suggests staying away from there as it’s easy to get blocked in and has very limited parking.
Next is Mallorytown, which is closed up and barricaded. No stopping there.
Finally, Morrisburg has a few acres of truck parking, earning “top ranking” according to our intrepid reporter. Commercial truck drivers may be best advised to cross into Quebec where there’s a new Timmies and fuel bar, but only “minimally adequate” truck parking, Harry noted.
Heading westbound back to Toronto, you’ll find one of the new OnRoute facilities just across the Ontario provincial boundary.
Harry reported there’s no fast food there yet, but the bathrooms are open. You won’t likely find a parking spot though, as the trucks have been staying out front since there’s virtually no space out back.
“I suspect that there’s no room out back because of piles of contaminated soil and french fries and oil drippings from when this was a Wendy’s/Shell/ KFC,” Harry noted in his recent blog at Trucknews.com.
Next up is Morrisburg westbound -completely closed. No stopping or parking. Mallorytown westbound, near Brockville, has some “ad hoc parking and washrooms in portapotties,” Harry observed. There’s little space on the lot, however, so better move along if there are already trucks there.
Westbound Odessa is a no-go as well. “It’s barricaded and haunted,” Harry insisted. “Only cops are brave enough to go in there.”
Finally, a place to stop: Wooler Hill westbound is open but most parking spaces remain fenced off. Truckers are parking on the shoulders of both ramps to access the washroom facilities.
Just prior to Bowmanville, you’ll come across the 445, which is one of the only old-school sites to remain open all along. But don’t get too excited, “Parking is not adequate,” Harry said. “Not overnight.”
So there you have it. Between Toronto and Montreal, your parking options are indeed limited. Anecdotally, the Toronto-Windsor corridor seems to be just as bad. Most professional drivers are learning to live without these facilities -exactly where they’re stopping, I have no idea.
However, it seems the only trucks welcome at these revamped service centres are those that are delivering the food, fuel and supplies required by the retailers that do business there.