By Nathan Duke
Association President Robert Holden recently sent a letter to 104th Precinct Capt. Scott Shanley to address truck and trailer violations in the precinct and to ask him to assign more officers to the task of seeking out illegal vehicles that are parked overnight in residential neighborhoods.Crime dropped in the precinct last year as the number of murders fell from eight in 2004 to two in 2005. However, Holden said residents in the precinct's coverage area – Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Glendale – are most concerned with quality-of-life issues and traffic safety.”Shanley has been doing a great job and has cut crime, but we are not worried about violent crime in these communities,” Holden said. “We worry about crossing the street. We need stricter enforcement of traffic laws.”Holden said trucks and trailers are often illegally parked in residential neighborhoods because drivers would rather pay a fine than purchase an expensive commercial parking space. He said lines of trucks and trailers parked on the street are dangerous because pedestrians at crosswalks cannot be seen and that trucks storing chemicals are safety hazards. He also said truck traffic in areas of Middle Village, such as Woodhaven Boulevard near Furmanville Avenue, and Maspeth, along Grand Avenue, slows down passenger vehicles and endangers drivers.”We're saying to the Police Department to ticket trucks every night and initiate a towing system when there are violations,” Holden said. “These truck drivers are thumbing their noses at city laws.”In addition, Holden said a number of trucks parked in neighborhoods are illegally registered. Many of them are commercial vehicles, but are not registered accordingly, he said. At a recent Juniper Park meeting, Holden said Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall promised to take Maspeth off Queens' truck route. He said Grand Avenue has been taken off the route.The 104th Precinct recently stepped up initiatives to prevent overweight vehicles in Maspeth. Last fall its officers conducted two random truck inspections along the Long Island Expressway service road in Maspeth and stopped 22 trucks, all of which were overweight. Four trucks were seized, 67 violations were issued and each truck was subject to a minimum fine of $7,000. The captain said he has assigned an officer to a midnight tour to check for truck violations, including illegally parked commercial vehicles and detached trailers. Shanley said the precinct will continue random truck inspections in residential and commercial areas. He said about 10,000 trucks drive through the area weekly. He said trucks are a problem in the precinct and that the department will continue to issue summons to illegal vehicles.”They are an eyesore,” he said. “They take up available parking and because they are oversized, they cause traffic problems in several areas.”Reach reporter Nathan Duke by email at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.