Ryan Coleman, president of the Randallstown NAACP weighs in on the challenge of illegal commercial parking in Baltimore County. (Courtesy Photo)

By Ryan Coleman,
Special to the AFRO

The Randallstown NAACP receives about three weekly complaints for illegally parked commercial trucks. It’s obvious that a legislative response is necessary to address this issue. 

The Randallstown NAACP 2022 survey found 98 percent of truck drivers regularly experience problems finding safe parking. According to the survey, there is only one truck parking space for every 11 truckers in Baltimore County. When drivers are unable to find safe, authorized parking, they are stuck in a no-win situation, forced to either park in unsafe locations or illegal locations. 

No matter where you look in Baltimore County, it seems like there’s a commercial truck illegally parked. Whether it’s along a highway or in a quiet residential neighborhood, these four-ton vehicles are not hard to miss. Now, it seems like this long-standing problem is reaching a countywide crisis level. Fines and enforcement alone won’t solve this problem — we need a comprehensive solution that involves government agencies, elected officials, and the private sector to solve this problem for the long-term. 

Illegal tractor trailer parking is a hazard to our neighborhoods, a problem Baltimore County residents are familiar with. It’s more than just an eyesore — by limiting residential street and highway space, it increases congestion and longer travel time plus more pollution, potholes and accidents. Parked trucks contribute to littering and illegal dumping and impair visibility for drivers and pedestrians at intersections.

The branch has worked together with the Baltimore County Police Department. County police have also initiated unique, helpful ideas on Milford Mill Road, Essex Road, Church Lane and Fairbrook Road. The Baltimore County Police Department tickets and cites illegally parked trucks but truckers with nowhere else to park treat these tickets as the cost of doing business.

We must offer truckers somewhere else to park besides our neighborhoods. Without that parking, truck drivers will continue to treat these fines as the cost of doing business, and ultimately pass those costs along to consumers. 

We cannot approach this problem piecemeal. We need sustainable solutions that address the root cause of the illegal parking problem: the constrained supply of commercial parking. Government and the private sector must work together to develop space that will allow truckers a safe, reliable place to park without causing havoc in residential neighborhoods. 

The Baltimore County Department of Public Works must take the lead in identifying the most commonly used corridors for freight trucks across the county and potential nearby lots that can be used for parking. Baltimore County can lease county-owned land to a private or not-for-profit entity to develop commercial lots and manage them on behalf of the county. These steps will not only get the trucks off our neighborhood streets, but also generate revenue for the county. 

The private sector also stands to benefit. For instance, numerous big-box retailers across the county should consider renting out their massive parking lots that sit empty and unused after their stores close each night. 

The Baltimore County Council must pass legislation to raise the fines on illegally parked commercial trucks to provide a real deterrent against continued bad behavior, not the current slap on the wrist that is being ignored. 

The following are legislative/ policy suggestions from the Randallstown NAACP to cure the problem of illegally parked commercial trucks. 

1. Increase the truck parking capacity in Baltimore County

2. Dedicate funding for 10 additional inspectors –one in each precinct– to address the tracker trailer crisis.

3. Amend § 18-2-206 f PARKING A COMMERCIAL VEHICLE IN A RESIDENTIAL ZONE, increasing the penalty to $1,000 each for the tractor or trailer and, for each day the violation exists, increase fines to $1,500 for a tractor and trailer. After three tickets in one year, Baltimore County has the authority to tow away/boot the commercial vehicle

4. To amend § 18-2-207. d- PARKING TRUCKS ON SHOPPING CENTER LOTS to $1,000 each for the tractor or trailer and $1,500 for a tractor and trailer, in combination, for each day the violation exists

5. Install height monitoring cameras in Northwest Baltimore County

The economic trends are clear– commercial trucks are only going to proliferate across our county in the coming years. Rather than fighting against the same drivers and companies that are important to our economy, we must work together to create the infrastructure they need to avoid negatively impacting our communities. 

Ryan Coleman is president of the Randallstown branch of the NAACP. He can be reached at

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