By Joe Anuta
Maspeth residents are fed up with truckers who use their backyards as an overnight rest stop.
Instead of passing through the neighborhood or finding a legal place to park, resident Manny Caruana said tractor trailers pull onto the shoulder of the Long Island Expressway service road and spend the night.
“I’m right on the block in back of the service road,” he said. “They leave the trucks idling all night long.”
And the large engines produce noise and pollution that irritate homeowners who live just across the street.
“You have the fumes from the expressway — that’s bad enough — but we have to deal with the pollution from the idling trucks as well,” Caruana said. “It’s a major problem. The people who live there have to suffer.”
And drivers pay a price, too, according to another neighbor, Linda Daquaro.
“One time, there were three trucks resting there and they backed up all the way to the service ramp,” she said.
And when the end of the last truck hangs over into the road, cars have to swerve to get by, according to Daquaro.
The problem has been going on for roughly six months, she said.
“It’s not a rest stop,” she said.
Daquaro complained to City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village), state Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) and the NYPD, and at a June 6 meeting of Citizens of Elmhurst and Maspeth Together, Community Affairs Officer Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct said police had recently issued about 10 tickets for the overnight guests.
But despite the ticket blitz, the 104th Precinct cannot devote all its manpower to ticketing parked trucks, Caruana conceded.
“It’s something that happens once or twice a week,” he said. “And the 104 is understaffed. We don’t get a lot of police up here.”
But Caruana still would like the city to do something about it.
Both Daquaro and Caruana want signage to deter the trucks. Daquaro wants something telling the trucks that the area is not a rest stop.
But Caruana said the trucks should not even be coming down that exit since Grand Avenue, the most likely path for the long vehicles, was designated for local traffic only in March.
And in the future, a plan currently proposed by the city Department of Transportation called the Maspeth bypass plan would send trucks westbound to the next exit, Maurice Avenue, so they would not be coming down the service road by Caruana’s house at all.
The plan has been voted down three times by Community Board 5, which requested changes in each case.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.