N. I. M. B. Y.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Bruce REEVES)
Hey, I found your website and got some very interesting information or should I say "ammo" against the development of a Flying J Truck Stop here in Liverpool, NY. Do you have any other information on crimes, drugs, etc. at these or any truck stops? How about noise, pollution, accidents etc.? Any help would be great. They want to build it on a federal wetland that the owner is bulldozing to cover up, right next to a sleepy residential neighborhood. But hey, it's right off the Thruway so why not? My e-mailn address is email@example.com. Thanks for any info you can send my way.
I appreciate your letter. Unfortunately,
because I am a truck driver, and there is a vast shortage of safe and available
parking spaces for commercial vehicles, any "ammo" would be counter productive,
even if the "proposed" truck stop is a Flying J.......If they build it, that
would free up other spaces. Yes, there IS crime at truck stops, but most of the
crime is committed by locals on the truckdrivers, looking for easy money.
Knowing the truckdrivers are transient and unlikely to press charges or be
available for testifying in court, makes them an easy target. There ARE some
"UNSAVORY" types in trucking, as there are in any other industry. There are
drivers who buy, sell and use drugs. (If you have a CB radio, this kind of
activity can be heard as "looking for Lucile" or "real-deal"......these are code
words for speed, or crystal-methadrine.) But they are being weeded out, because
a commercial driver can be asked at any time to provide a urine sample. And the
Trucking Industry has done more than any other Industry in policing itself, and
probably has the lowest rate of drug abuse than any other industry. And there is
some prostitution as well (ladies asking if drivers want "commercial" or
"commercial company"......or drivers asking for "commercial"......) As you saw
on my site, there are some (unsubstantiated) instances of Flying J employees
being involved in prostitution. Personally, I have never seen this activity at
any Flying J. And until my assult by Flying J employees, I almost exclusively
used Flying J, because they were cleaner than most other truck stops. There are
truck stop chains that are much better at cleaning up the illegal activity on
their premises, like TA, Pilot or Petro.
Naturally, with trucks, there is an increase. Some drivers, mostly company drivers tend to "idle" their trucks whenever parked. They aren't concerned with the cost of fuel. As an Owner/Operator, I only idle when the outside temperature would make it very uncomfortable not to do so. I am idle free between the temperatures of 30 and 80 degrees. I often wonder why drivers idle when the outside temperature is 60 degrees, but I don't pay for their fuel. I do intend on purchasing a "pony" motor, so I will not have to idle, no-matter what the outside temperature is. A $3000 to $5000 investment that will further reduce fuel costs, engine wear and pollution. An investment, I might add, will not be made by companies unless local ordinances forbid idling, or the cost of fuel goes so high it make idling prohibitive.
As for accidents........anywhere there is a concentration of trucks in "a sleepy residential
neighborhood" there will also be an increase of accidents, but it has been my experience and observation, that the majority of these are caused by the drivers of the 4-wheelers.
I have seen the drivers of 4 wheeled vehicles do some incredibly stupid things on the road, where 18 wheelers are concerned. If you believe all the marketing-induced scare tactics by newspapers and TV media. (not designed to be informative, but to sell advertisements) You will believe that the drivers of commercial vehicles are the most dangerous people on the roads today. The exact opposite is fact. I have had over 1 million safe driving miles (if you do not count the 5 times I have had the driver of a 4 wheeler hit ME (4 times I was at a complete stop) And once, because I slowed a lady behind me down, she passed me on a 2 lane bridge, hitting an oncoming pickup head on and killing the other driver instantly. There are accidents between cars and commercial trucks, but 3/4 of these or more are caused by the driver of the car. And there are some very unsafe truck drivers out there too, but again the trucking industry is weeding these drivers out.
It seems like your best bet is to get a restraining order to protect the wetlands.
Thanks again for visiting my site, but you didn't say how you found it.
Her next letter:
Thanks so much for taking the time to write me back in such glorious detail. In my search for any information on the trucking industry and more specifically comments from truckers about Flying J, I found your website. It was very informative and I thought maybe you could help me track down more information on Flying J. Your webpage intimated your disdain (in my opinion) for Flying J and so I thought I could get more information. Don't get me wrong, Michael, I appreciate everything the truckers do out there. I just don't think we need a travel plaza, as they call it, the magnitude they intend to build (166 truck spaces) right here in my backyard, when 5 miles either way on the Thruway they have a travel plaza they can go to without leaving the highway. It certainly is not for convenience. Flying J is a $3 billion/year business, the spokeman said the other night to our town residents. They stand to make money hand over fist with this, their largest facility. If you have any further comments or help, please write me back. Again, thanks for taking the time to reply. My CB "handle" used to be "Montana Red" back in the 70's. :)
My reply to her second letter:
In a message dated 11/8/99 12:19:56 PM
Eastern Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
<< when 5 miles
either way on the Thruway they have a travel plaza they can go to without
leaving the highway. >>
I do not care if any more Flying Js' are built, but let me reiterate.......There is a shortage of approximately 200,000 available parking spaces on a daily basis. And the shortage is even more acute on major routes to and from major metropolitan areas. (Such as I-90 across NY.) Many if the "Service Plazas" fill up as soon as it gets dark, and the food is HORRIBLE. The employees of Service Plazas, even though work for a private company, actually work for the State or the Toll Roads. And answer to no-one. They are not consumer oriented, because they have a "captive" clientele. They couldn't care less about the quality of their food or service. Personally, I am unable to eat just "anything" anymore, and must watch my diet close. I have gotten very ill from eating the wrong kind, or poorly prepared foods. There are many, many other drivers like me. I can just about guarantee, that between the two service plazas, 5 miles apart, there is not 166 truck parking spaces between them. Also, I could guarantee that the quality of food and service is negligible, if not nonexistent.
You also say:
"Don't get me wrong, Michael, I appreciate everything the truckers do out there. I just don't think we need a travel plaza, as they call it, the magnitude they intend to build (166 truck spaces) right here in my backyard"
I assert to you, that if you appreciate "everything" the truckers do, you would be unwilling to deny them any semblance to the same creature comforts you enjoy: adequate HOT meals, safe secure place at night. (Free from UNREASONABLE interruptions, such as the DOT waking drivers up during their sleep, and doing various levels of inspections. Up to and including a FULL DOT inspection.) Any overnight parking on the turnpike at a "Service Plaza" is dangerous, it allows criminals IMMEDIATE access away from their crimes, and crimes are more prevalent at TPK Service Plazas. The key to the ACTUAL reason for opposing the Flying J is found in your letter, though. A well known disease infecting the USA today. It is known as NIMBY.......or in layman's terms: "Not In My Back Yard"
Yes we need more jails, but NIMBY
Yes we need more treatment centers for substance abusers, but NIMBY
list goes on and on.
My dislike for Flying J only, and I emphasize ONLY has to do with my assult by their employees and the attitude of Flying J, all the way up to the Corporate Level, that truckdrivers are second or third class citizens. And you obviously share that idea.
Your letter is self-contradictory, to say the least. You think only of yourself, when you oppose the Flying J in your area. NIMBY
Put your self in our shoes for 24 hrs.
Again her reply:
I apologize if my "tone" came off sounding like I thought you guys were second class citizens. It was not my intent. I would never presume to judge anyone. All I know is that there are plenty of locations in Onondaga County, including MY backyard that is nothing but trees and commercial property, (for miles) at the Jones Road exit of the Thruway, 5 miles from the proposed site. If anything, the "tone" of your letter was judgemental towards me, a citizen, voter and tax payer that will have to finance the public services involved with the plaza (including police, emergency and road services). You guys can come and go, but the plaza is permanent. The trucker's sense of "ownership" of such a plaza or any plaza is nil. My research has confirmed this. I would love to spend 24 hours in your shoes, then maybe I could get a better idea of what your lifestyle is like. But I can tell you this, my opinions thus far are based in fact and research, not feelings or selfish desire. I will not be lumped into your "NIMBY" classification of ignoramouses who know nothing about the processes necessary to complete one of these plazas. I agree with you that many people think of truckers as a lower class of people. I am not one of them. If you saw the area the proposed site was located, you might have a better idea of where I am coming from. Andrea
then My last letter to her:
In a message dated 11/10/99 4:03:40 PM
Eastern Standard Time, email@example.com writes:
<< the "tone" of your letter was judgemental towards me, a citizen, voter and tax payer that will have to finance the public services involved with the plaza (including police, emergency and road services). >>
I am also a citizen, voter and a tax payer. Good Lord, I pay about $10,000 in highway use taxes per year, which includes fuel tax. Not to mention, the cost of licensing and permits (about $2500 per year), I am sorry if I sounded judgmental, but so many people treat us (truckdrivers) as either
a.) second class citizen
b.) financial opportunity
and every day, some governmental agency is enacting laws which are NOT laws to promote safety, but rather enacted to give the governmental agencies a source of revenue. Every little town, city, county and township enacts these laws, restricting trucks from routes that have been used by trucks for decades, because some residents don't want trucks on roads where trucks passed for years. Re: State of NJ outlawing trucks on all state roads and most US highways UNLESS they are either based in New Jersey or enroute to pick up or deliver in NJ.
Or states outlawing trucks from idling more than 5 minutes. (Like the state of Mass.) Ever tried to sleep in an unheated house when the outside temperature in below freezing? Or, in the summer, when the temperature is above 120 degrees? That's how hot it can get in an un-airconditioned truck even at night.
Imagine being in a large commercial vehicle, and needing to do some shopping..........where would you park? Used to be able to park at Walmart, but a lot of them wont allow that anymore. Why? Because of the complaints of the locals.....
You stated in your first letter, that Flying J was building on a "wetland". That should be enough to stop them. Actually, I am neutral on the position of Flying J putting a new truck stop in your back yard, or anywhere else for that matter. I couldn't care less. My dislike for Flying J is for a totally different and unrelated reason. BUT, for you to use my dislike of Flying J in your attempt to stop their proposed truck stop is unconscionable and self centered. NIMBY
If you think I am judgmental, don't you think I have the right to be?
Actually, by your own words, you lumped yourself into the "'NIMBY' classification of ignoramouses."