Some might call it a parking lot during rush-hour traffic, but the Nassau Expressway has become a literal stopover for taxi drivers en route to John F. Kennedy Airport.
Last week, the NYPD and the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) decided to do something about it, and told the vehicles’ owners to “move along.”
Officers from the 106th Precinct and the TLC Uniformed Services Bureau conducted “Operation Move Along” along the expressway between 7 and 10 a.m. on the morning of May 4. According to Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, they encountered 24 illegally stopped vehicles on the highway leading from the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach/South Ozone Park to JFK Airport and southeastern Long Island.
Nine of the vehicles were livery cabs, while the rest were privately owned vehicles, Goldfeder noted. TLC agents did not issue summonses, but rather warned the drivers not to return to the location, according to a spokesperson for the legislator.
The operation was conducted after Goldfeder reached out to TLC Chair Meera Joshi in April relaying reports from constituents about illegally parked vehicles along the expressway and demanding corrective action.
The 106th Precinct previously conducted similar enforcement initiatives along the expressway in the past, but the problems with parked and idling vehicles on the highway persisted. Many for-hire cab drivers find the Nassau Expressway to be a convenient place to wait for their customers to arrive at JFK.
More than 49,000 vehicles use the Nassau Expressway (state route 878) each day, according to statistics from the state Department of Transportation. It is a major artery not only to JFK but also a designated coastal evacuation route, Goldfeder noted. Parking, standing or stopping on or alongside an expressway are prohibited except in the event of an emergency such as a crash or vehicle breakdown.
“Every day, thousands of families depend on the 878 to get to work or school,” Goldfeder said. “Our families deserve better than to see this road turn into a parking lot for a few reckless drivers, and I’m confident ‘Operation Move Along’ will help change this for the better.”
Barbara McNamara, vice president of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association, praised the work of the TLC and the 106th Precinct under the direction of its commander, Captain James Fey: “The members of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic applaud their efforts and look forward to safer commutes along the Nassau Expressway going forward.”