Rod Hannifey NSW Delegate
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PARKING BAY PLAN BY ROD HANNIFEY.
This design aims to provide facilities for all types of road users at the least cost of both space and entry exit roadworks, which by far are often the biggest cost. In providing facilities that suit all in one place the costs are minimised and more facilities can be provided instead of different facilities for cars and trucks. I must say VicRoads does this better than anywhere else in Australia that I have travelled. The two criticisms I do have is that there is little effort made to provide shade and with the herringbone style of parking generally provided, this will always be difficult.
The herringbone or side by side design also can make it impossible to get decent sleep with trucks pulling up, dropping maxi brakes and then slamming doors to go to the toilet etc, only to start up the truck again, all less than one metre from both sides of the cabin in which you are trying to sleep. The other criticism of many current rest areas is that the trucks are closest to the road and noise, and cars are most often to the rear, but it is more likely the truckdrivers that are requiring sleep, rather than just a stop. This is compounded by stock and frig trucks not being compatible with other vehicles and whilst the drivers of these trucks become used to stock or frig van noise, others are not and so the need for separation, where this is possible.
With this design, shade (albeit taking years for trees to grow and of course tree planting is also good for the environment) can eventually be available whatever the time of day and trucks are not only further from each other, you have separation from those wanting to sleep and those wanting only to have their regulation break or toilet stop. Also with less trucks stopping during the day and very few cars at night, the best utilization for the cost of providing the facilities is achieved for both groups.
Again I must say Victoria leads with toilet facilities available for truck drivers as these are sadly lacking in other states. I slept at Ironbark rest area one night and had to have a six hour break there to comply with my driving hours. I did get to sleep but was woken a number of times and ended up just laying there until I could legally leave. This has happened on a number of other occasions and in other states.
It is true that much of the truck traffic on major highways and using rest areas is on shuttle or overnight trips and not all need to have a long break, but from my discussions with a number of road authorities over the last five years regarding rest areas, it is clear there is not sufficient understanding of truck drivers needs, nor consultation when and where rest areas are built.
I still believe there is a need for the style of rest area I am proposing to provide better shade for those who need to stop and or sleep during the day, better possible sleep also due to less noise from other types of vehicles e.g. frig vans and stock crates and from those stopping only for a short break and in also being further from the road.
The Green Reflector Marking of Informal Truck Rest Areas is intended as an interim or fill in, in areas where there are not enough truck rest areas now and or where some additional sites have come to be used by trucks, often for the reasons of shade or separation, particularly during the day. Marking of these sites with Green Reflectors increases their utilization at night and helps those drivers who do not run the same road every night with locating these informal sites. I would then suggest that this proffered style of rest area is the best and most cost efficient for all road users. I do understand the large costs involved in rest areas and believe the design I offer is also practical and will only lead to better sleep for truck drivers and this must lead to better road safety for all.
The only other point would be that the extra area for frig vans or stock crates as per the plan, could just see an extension of the rearmost roadway where no caravan corner is needed. The growing and ageing population, of whom more and more are taking to the roads of Australia will not only require additional capacity in rest areas, but if not addressed will only see more pressure put on the too few truck rest areas available now.
I would welcome your thoughts and am happy to help in anyway I can to the benefit of truckies improved sleep and rest and road safety generally.