Tag Archives: trucks

Authorities and Hamilton Beach residents use trucks to fight trucks


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Roger Gendron

Police towed three trucks and one school bus illegally parked in Hamilton Beach on Monday and Tuesday in a new effort to stop an old problem, according to authorities.

“It’s an out of the way location, a hidden spot where they think they’re safe parking overnight,” Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff of the 106th Precinct said. “It’s a quality of life issue for the locals.”

The police have also issued summonses for unregistered cars parked in the small neighborhood that is already ailed with other transportation issues like small, narrow two-way roads and potholes. Residents and police are hoping that this will be enough to put an end to a problem that has been going on for several years, according to Schiff.

While Hamilton Beach may seem like a good hiding place for truck and car owners illegally parked in the area, Schiff is paying close attention to residents’ complaints and plans on towing more trucks in the near future. But part of the problem of towing such large vehicles is that special, heavy-duty tow trucks are needed and the NYPD has a limited amount of these tow trucks.

“There are 76 commands in New York City that want the same thing done,” Schiff said. “So it’s a logistical thing. This wouldn’t be a problem if you could use regular tow trucks.”

 

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Elmhurst says it suffers from truck troubles


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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Elmhurst community leaders are hoping the NYPD will tow away the perturbing parking problem plaguing the neighborhood.

The Newtown Civic Association is outraged over illegally parked commercial trucks on public streets in Elmhurst – often present overnight or for multiple days.

According to Newtown Civic Association Treasurer Robert Valdes Clausell, companies hoping to avoid hefty parking rates prefer to leave their tractor trailers – as large as 18-wheelers – on public streets, hogging spots meant to be reserved for citizens.

“Elmhurst has experienced, in the last 10 years, a 40 percent increase in population. A lot of those people drive vehicles and as a result, this has further congested an already busy parking situation,” said Valdes Clausell. “So if you include commercial vehicles parking overnight, then you have a big problem. Trucks take up five or six residential parking spaces, and 18-wheelers are so large they could take up eight spaces.”

City law mandates that commercial trucks cannot be parked on residential streets between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., and can only be present in one place for a maximum of three consecutive hours. The fine for violating the law, however, is frequently cheaper than garage fees, and towing the massive trucks is difficult.

“The fine is no more than $300, and that’s assuming they get caught or ticketed. But to park commercial vehicles is a lot more – it could cost upwards of $500 or $600,” Valdes Clausell said. “The fine is a small price to pay compared to overnight commercial parking for an 18-wheeler in New York.”

The stagnant trucks are also hot spots for graffiti, which Valdes Clausell calls “very unsightly” and “an eyesore.”

Although he admits officers of the 110th Precinct have been responsive to the complaints and have ticketed vehicles, Valdes Clausell believes more must be done to discourage illegal parking. Members of the Newtown Civic Association are urging police to increase enforcement by towing away the trucks – a practice utilized by the 104th Precinct, which reportedly ticketed 60 trucks and towed five tractor trailers in Maspeth in December alone.

According to published reports, 145 summonses for a variety of violations – primarily parking – have also been issued to commercial vehicles parked in the Elmhurst area.

“We need tougher enforcement and better resources at the 110 so they can do a better job of stopping this. Ticketing is not enough – you need to tow them away,” Valdes Clausell said. “Just like it was done in Maspeth at the 104, we need a task force. Otherwise it is only getting worse. It is putting a Band-Aid on a mortal wound, which is hemorrhaging more and more every day.”

Thomas McKenzie, president of the Newtown Civic Association, has been less cordial in his words towards police. He has called the 110th Precinct over 50 times, written six emails to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and has now involved Internal Affairs – due to the lack of progress made by the precinct. McKenzie went as far as to name a community affairs officer from the 110 a “doofus dimwit detective.”

“This is very frustrating because the police have ignored us,” said McKenzie. “The cops don’t do anything.”

Others believe the police are not to blame.

Beyond hording parking, Valdes Clausell believes the trucks are severe safety hazards as well.

“The problem is worst around 51st Avenue and Queens Boulevard – that is also one of the most dangerous parts of Queens Boulevard,” he said. “It is not made for truck parking so it creates a pedestrian danger when crossing Queens Boulevard, because the trucks are so tall you can’t see the traffic that is oncoming. You have to venture out into the street.”

Maspeth Bypass Plan goes into effect


| ecamhi@queenscourier.com

The old adage “keep on trucking” doesn’t apply to Maspeth anymore.

The much-anticipated Maspeth Truck Bypass plan, passed in July, went into effect on Saturday, October 1, meaning trucks will now travel to and from the Long Island Expressway without using central avenues in the residential community.

Community activist and local business owner Tony Nunziato, who conceived the original plan with the late Frank Principe,is pleased the job is “getting done.” Although it’s been revised by the Department of Transportation (DOT) since becoming a capital project, Nunziato still feels good that the decade-long project is now a reality.

“It’s being enacted, it’s finally coming through to fruition,” he said.

Among the changes in place with the Maspeth Truck Bypass plan is the designation of Grand and Flushing Avenues from “through” to “local” truck routes. Existing laws to keep oversized trucks off local roads are also being enforced aggressively by the 104th Precinct, according to Nunziato, who noted that the bypass route is still very much in progress and the benefits won’t be immediate.

“It’s not done, etching, yellow lines, signage — I mean I know the plans, but if I was driving down there, I wouldn’t know what was going on [yet],” said Nunziato. “They’re working on it so I’ll give them the time.”

The DOT did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.

Nunziato is confident that once the bypass route is completed and signage is posted, the community will see a reduction in truck traffic.

“They’re just implementing the bypass yet, so once they have all the lines and all the signs, then they’ll do the big signs on the highway. Eventually, when they have all the signs and give the truckers a chance to use the bypass route, then you come and start ticketing.You want to give them a fair chance to adjust to it,” he said.

He also noted that the DOT sends trucking companies a route map, which, once updated, should also help the plan along.

Work to convert streets surrounding a complex five-leg intersection into part of the bypass is in process as well.The one-way street conversions, affecting 58th Street and Maurice Avenue, faced strong opposition from many Maspeth business owners who claimed that restricting access on those streets would be detrimental to their businesses.The DOT has stated, however, that the change should ensure better traffic flow in the area.

Nunziato also disagrees with the one-way conversions, stating it was not part of the original bypass plan.

“We never wanted to change the flow of the traffic. They [the DOT] assured us that if they see that it’s hurting businesses they’ll reverse it or they’ll change it, and I’m hoping they stay to their word.

The long-term goal of the bypass plan is to divert trucks, except those making local deliveries, away from the residential and local business spans of Grand or Flushing avenues to a bypass route through Maspeth’s industrial areas.

“We’re not looking to hurt the truckers. We’re looking just to make sure that they work together with the community, so that they don’t damage local business. A lot of children cross the street, a lot of seniors, we’ve got a lot of schools – there’s no reason to have all these massive trucks on the main strip,” Nunziato said.