According to a City of North Bend press release, at a June 14th forum hosted by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) at City Hall, Mayor Hearing, city staff, WSDOT Representatives, Port of Seattle Chief Executive Officer Ted Flick and other port officials met with members of the trucking industry to discuss regional truck parking needs.
During the meeting, truck drivers with cargo to be offloaded at the Port of Seattle expressed a desire to be able to drive directly to the Port instead of waiting in outlying areas during the hours when container terminal gates were closed.
In response, the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma are now operating a joint endeavor, spending up to $2 million dollars to reimburse terminal operators for extending gate hours at container terminals during the upcoming peak season.
By extending gate hours, drivers will have the flexibility to spread out their deliveries – minimizing traffic while keeping their shipments moving. The 12-week incentive program began August 22nd and will provide some much-needed congestion relief, especially during the summer-fall peak shipping season.
Upon receiving the news Mayor Hearing commented, “This is excellent news for North Bend and a step in the right direction towards helping to alleviate truck parking issues for the region. I want to thank representatives from WSDOT and the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma for their continued efforts regarding this issue.”
North Bend Truck Town off I-90 exit 34 is the only remaining truck stop in King County. Due to its proximity to Snoqualmie Pass, it is heavily used by drivers, with overflow trucks often parking on the shoulders of the freeway off-ramps – and in the past, on city city streets near Truck Town. During periods of inclement weather, the issue worsens.
Earlier this year the City of North Bend enacted a permanent ordinance prohibiting the expansion of the truck town, or any new truck stops in the exit 34 area. The move was met with criticism by many residents and members of the trucking industry. For years, city officials have been frustrated that there had not been a more regional solution to meet the needs of drivers.