Truckers that are storing their vehicles on a highway service road were summonsed during a recent NYPD crackdown.
Tractor trailer trucks illegally parked along Bruckner Boulevard between Middletown Road and Wilkinson Avenue along Pelham Bay Park have been a perennial issue that has reared its head again.
The stretch of road adjacent to the Bruckner Expressway/I-95 has seen a great deal of overnight parking of large 18-wheeler tractor trailer trucks recently, especially on weekends, said George Havranek, Spencer Estate Civic Association vice-president.
Councilman Mark Gjonaj, responding to community requests, asked the NYPD to take action. The police ticketed three of the vehicles on Tuesday, January 29, said the councilman.
Gjonaj said he feels that some tolerance should be afforded the truckers because under federal regulations they are permitted to operate a rig only a certain number of consecutive hours before they must get off the road and take a long rest before resuming their trip.
This rule addresses valid safety concerns. When a parking summons enforcement blitz occurs it can disrupt this delicate balancing act, he explained.
However, Gjonaj also said illegally parked trucks are breaking the law and need to be ticketed.
“When commercial truckers use our streets as their own private parking lots, I have zero sympathy,” said Gjonaj.
The councilman said this as a quality of life issue and a potential driving hazard because motorists and pedestrians with blocked sightlines have difficulty navigating around the trucks.
The best way to send the violators a message is by towing the vehicles, but the city doesn’t have enough heavy duty tow trucks to adequately address the issue, he said.
Gjonaj added that he requested that the city acquire boot mechanisms for the trucks.
Havranek said that he has heard, anecdotally, that some of the trucks that park along Bruckner Boulevard may belong to long-haul drivers that live nearby.
He believes the drivers park there while they visit their families before hitting the road again.
“This is a parking and storage issue (in most instances),” said Havranek. “I would say that an overwhelming majority of the tractor trailer trucks are parked along the park on weekends.”
Many of the trucks park on Thursdays and Fridays and then are moved on Mondays and Tuesdays, he said.
On Sunday, January 19, Havranek said he spent half an hour at the location where there were a number of illegally parked trucks.
He said he observed that they blocked a lane of traffic because of their width.
On three separate occasions a vehicle travelling north on the service road had to move out of the right lane because the roadway became too narrow to support two lanes of traffic.
Bob Bieder, 45th Precinct Community Council president, said he believes that the matter can be corrected very easily through legislation.
“It is an ongoing battle,” he said, adding “It is cheaper for the truckers to pay parking fines than it is for them to rent a space to legally park.”
Tractor trailers have also abused the Zerega Industrial Business Zone and a portion of Lafayette Avenue, near St. Raymond’s Cemetery, said Bieder.