Don Nunes didn’t know where he was going to sleep last night. As a truck driver making a stop in the Bay Area, his choices are severely limited.
His options will dwindle even further, if the Berkeley City Council passes a proposed measure on Tuesday to install “No Overnight Parking” signs on University Avenue west of the freeway exchange.
For truckers such as Nunes, that stretch of road, which splits portions of the proposed Eastshore State Park and is located right next to the Interstate 80 on-ramps, is an popular overnight spot.
“This seems like a reasonable place,” said Nunes, who claimed he had never stayed overnight on the street.
Councilmembers are expected to disagree with his assessment. Two are already on record stating that the makeshift truck stop is not appropriate on a city street next to a proposed state park.
“I don’t think its a terrible problem, but it will be if we don’t nip it in the bud,” said Councilmember Betty Olds, who sponsored the measure.
According to Olds, there are usually at least two or three trucks pulled to the side of the road every night. Often the trucker will deposit the container at a warehouse and park the truck cabin on the street.
“I go to the Marina a couple of times a week, and the trucks look awful along University Avenue,” Olds said.
Councilmember Kriss Worthington agreed with Olds, calling the sight of the truck cabins a blight. “I always feel so upset that all these gigantic trucks are ironically parked next to a sign that says ‘coming soon Eastshore State Park’.”
Nunes understands the councilmembers’ position.
“Some truckers abuse what is available,” said Nunes, who acknowledged that some of his cohorts occasionally leave their diesel engines running while they are pulled over to work their range and television.
Berkeley would not be the first state to impose regulations inhibiting truckers from staying overnight on city streets.
According to Nunes, during the last several years cities across the country have tightened overnight parking rules, but that restrictions in the Bay Area are particularly burdensome because there are no official sites to spend the night.
“There aren’t too many stops around here,” said Nunes, who was considering parking his truck overnight at abandoned lot in Pleasanton. According to Nunes, if he didn’t choose the Pleasanton lot, the closest full service truck stop is near Modesto.
Olds understood the drivers’ plight, but thinks the parking restrictions are necessary. “I do sort of feel sorry for them, but not so sorry that I want a bunch of truck cabs on University Avenue.”
The measure is on the council’s consent calendar, and is expected to be approved. If it passes, Olds estimated that the “No Overnight Parking” signs could be in place within a week.