Ferry Point residents irked by trucks seeking short cuts

Trucks making their way over from Brush Avenue use an entrance to the Whitestone Bridge at the Hutch and Rohr Place (above). Unfortunately, many tractor-trailer drivers are using the side residential streets as a short cut to the onramp. - Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Residents of two small streets in the Ferry Point community are up in arms about tractor-trailer trucks deviating from their prescribed routes and cutting through residential blocks.

Even though tractor-trailer trucks have prescribed routes that, by law they have to take as they make their trips from destination to destination, a shortcut down Wenner and Rohr places from Brush Avenue to the entrance to the Whitestone Bridge off the Hutchinson River service road has proved too tempting to truckers in the area.

Officially, the New York City Department of Transportation lists both Wenner and Rohr places as two way streets, but for several years both streets have had one-way signs directing traffic away from the Hutchinson River Parkway, to discourage truck drivers from cutting through the residential streets. Those signs were put in place by the state DOT.

Now, one of those signs has been removed, and trucks are once again using the streets as a shortcut.

“When they put in the new entrance to the Whitestone Bridge about five years ago, the state DOT put up the signs for us,” said JoAnne Sohmers, president of the Ferry Point Civic Association. “When the sign on Wenner Place got knocked down recently, we found out that the NYC DOT still had the streets mapped as two-way streets.”

The Ferry Point Civic Association, Inc. has collected signatures from every household on Wenner and Rohr places, as well as some on Brush Avenue, demanding that they be converted to one-way westbound.

“We would like this matter taken care of as soon as possible,” Sohmers continued. “There may be a public-meeting on this issue, and hopefully we can get Community Board 10 to vote on the matter at their last meeting [before their summer break] in June.”   

A petition was presented to CB 10 on May 28, and is currently under review.

“We are in the initial stages [of processing the request],” said Patrick Caruso, spokesman for CB 10. “The next step is to get in touch with our municipal services committee, and then it would go to a vote before the full board in late June.”

 An NYC DOT spokesman said they couldn’t look into the matter until CB 10 comes to a determination about the validity of the request.

“Once we receive a resolution from CB 10,” said DOT spokesman Craig Chin, “our traffic planning will determine if it is appropriate.”

Chin added two streets that follow each other sequentially on a grid usually go in opposite directions, and that the NYPD-Traffic Enforcement Division could ticket trucks if they deviate from prescribed truck routes by cutting through side streets. Sohmers held out little hope that traffic enforcement would curb the problem.

“By the time you call the police, often in the middle of the night, the trucks are gone,” she said, “and it is impossible to issue tickets.”

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