By Patrick Donachie
A southeast Queens City councilman is sponsoring legislation to reduce the time commercial trucks can park on streets from three hours to 90 minutes in an attempt to reduce the burden on affected communities.
City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) said that when he first broached the notion of Council legislation to combat the problem, he found other council members were dealing with similar situations in their own districts.
“If I talk to my colleagues in the Bronx, it’s a problem. Brooklyn, it’s a problem. In Manhattan, it’s foreign to them. It’s an outer borough problem,” he said. “We want to make sure it gets the attention it deserves. We have never seen this number of tractor trailers on residential streets.”
The preponderance of trucks blocking traffic and idling is a constant source of frustration for southeast Queens residents, both in the commercial corridors of downtown Jamaica and on residential avenues. Int. No. 1473 would revise the law to shorten the amount of time before traffic enforcers or NYPD officers can give an idling commercial vehicle a demand that they move or a fine. Miller said the vehicles are often idling overnight, running their engines for air conditioning in the summer or heat in the winter. Thus, the health of residents can be compromised.
“It’s been a disaster and it’s only getting worse,” Miller said. “If you walk along Springfield Boulevard, you may have five or six in a row.”
The legislation was referred by the full Council to the Committee on Transportation and has garnered several sponsors, including Queens Councilmen Donovan Richards (D-Arverne), Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Paul Vallone (D-Bayside). Miller said greater enforcement was needed, recalling trucks usually based in Elmont, L.I., that parked on the Queens side of the border. They were taking advantage of the lax enforcement, Miller said.
“They can’t park where they reside,” he said. “We want to make sure we respect and value our community.”
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona