"I'm taking a little break," said the trucker, who was transporting a load of paint from Long Island to New Jersey. He took off after a few minutes, but four more trucks, some still running their mighty diesel engines, were parked behind Green's leviathan vehicle on the shoulder of the northbound expressway between the Long Island Expressway interchange and the Northern Boulevard exit. Sprinkled along the shoulder are white highway signs that read "Emergency Stopping Only."Hoping to put an end to this impromptu truck stop, state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) recently wrote to law enforcement officials asking them to beef up on enforcement of the emergency parking rule."Trailer trucks are constantly parking with their diesel engines running on a daily basis," Padavan wrote in a Feb. 23 letter to the heads of the borough's two patrol squads."This is not a new issue," Padavan said in a telephone interview. "I brought this up directly with NYPD on a number of occasions. There is a sign that says 'Emergency Stopping Only.'" He cited pollution from the idling engines as one of his concerns."There was a report the other day about the dangerous consequences of inhaling diesel fumes. There are houses right above these trucks," Padavan said. "Those fumes are spewing out of those diesels as long as they're parked there. It's certainly not doing much for homeowners right there."Repeated calls to the letter's recipients, Assistant Chief Commanding Thomas Dale of Patrol Borough Queens South and to Assistant Chief Commanding James Tuller of Patrol Borough Queens North were not returned.A local law enforcement official said that police use their judgment when they see the trucks parked on the side of the Clearview."There's a lot of discretion used," he said. "Sometimes we'd rather have somebody off the road that's tired than on the road sleepy."Despite the brevity of these breaks, Padavan said the police's discretion amounted to deliberately ignoring the law. "I've once seen one of the radar cars stop someone and give a ticket, so I pulled over and waited until it was completed and then introduced myself and asked him, 'down the road there are a whole bunch of trucks parked and idling. Have you given them any tickets?'" Padavan said. "He said 'no. We're not told to do that. We have only so much time.'"If they want to set up a truck parking area somewhere, then do it. But that's certainly not the place," Padavan continued. "A ticket is a ticket whether someone's driving too fast or parking illegally." Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2005 Community News Group
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