By Madina Toure
The illegal truck traffic that has been adversely affecting residential streets in New York City will no longer be an issue after passage of a new bill by City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside).
The city Department of Transportation will be installing 15 new signs indicating truck routes at eight locations within the Flushing-Broadway-Auburndale area.
The City Council unanimously passed Vallone’s bill Wednesday. The bill will now go to Mayor Bill de Blasio to be signed into law.
Trucks cannot use non-designated routes but a DOT policy prohibits negative signage–signs explicitly indicating that trucks cannot use a particular route—from being placed in the city, according to Vallone.
Trucks use residential streets to speed up their routes because they know the NYPD will often not issue violations because of the lack of negative signage, Vallone said. The councilman’s bill requires the DOT to conduct a study to evaluate the compliance of truck drivers as it relates to their following of designated routes and to come up with relief measures.
“How many times have we heard that residential streets are supposed to be residential?” Vallone said in a statement. “Unfortunately, as the DOT attempts to beautify neighborhoods by avoiding negative signage, we end up instead with trucks and tractor trailers barreling down our residential streets, polluting our communities with fumes and noise and endangering residents.”
In a letter dated March 24 to Vallone, DOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia responded to the councilman’s request for truck signage along Utopia Parkway and 32nd, 33rd, 35th and Bayside avenues.
She said the eight locations that will be receiving new signs are: Linden Place at 31st Road; Linden Place at 32nd Avenue; Linden Place at 35th Avenue; Northern Boulevard at Union Street; Northern Boulevard at Parsons Boulevard; Francis Lewis Boulevard at 29th Avenue; Francis Lewis Boulevard at 32nd Avenue; and Francis Lewis Boulevard at 35th Avenue.
The new signs will be placed at key locations to better direct and inform truck drivers to the “Local” and “Through” truck routes so that they are in compliance with truck-route laws, Garcia wrote. She also said the DOT was able to temporarily install a variable message board stating “No Trucks Except Local Deliveries” near the carwash at the intersection of 35th Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard. The agency has started ordering the signs and expects installation to be complete by the end of June.
The DOT will identify locations where large numbers of truck drivers regularly operate off designated routes and will establish measures such as converting two-way streets into one-way streets, posting signage about the allowed usage of particular routes by trucks as well as education and outreach to the trucking industry.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour