Today’s news:

Avella hails crackdown on illegal truck routes

Police from the 109th Precinct have launched an initiative geared at limiting illegal truck traffic rumbling through Whitestone’s residential streets.

City Councilman Tony Avella (D−Bayside) said a trucking enforcement program has been in operation in the community for just three weeks, but already has yielded dozens of summonses and a misdemeanor arrest.

“One of the most frequent quality−of−life complaints my office has received has been illegal truck traffic. All too often, these huge trucks and tractor−trailers drive through quiet residential streets with little or no regard for residents — creating traffic congestion, noise, pollution and vibrations that shake the foundation of homes,” Avella said. “In order to effectively reduce this problem it is going to take relentless enforcement of the truck traffic regulations and I commend the 109th Precinct for undertaking this extremely important initiative.”

The 109th Precinct set up checkpoints along 14th Avenue at Clinton Street and 143rd Street Oct. 6 and Oct. 16, and issued more than 40 summonses in the two days alone, including tickets for being off registered trucking routes and too long and two wide vehicle violations and one misdemeanor arrest for an unspecified charge, authorities said.

“Issuing summonses to violators of the truck traffic regulations sends a powerful message to the companies and their drivers that we are no longer going to tolerate illegal truck traffic,” Avella said.

Residents in northern Queens have clamored for trucking regulation in recent months. In one case, the problem led to the reformation of the once defunct Malba Gardens Civic Association. In a statement sent to TimesLedger Newspapers, Malba Gardens Civic member Alfredo Centola said the same problem needs to be addressed along Fifth Avenue.

“Since 1998, we have been fighting to get Fifth Avenue converted into a westbound one−way street due to the large amount of illegal truck, commercial traffic as well as an onslaught of racing vehicles. This has created a severely dangerous situation for the 18 children living on the block under the age of 15,” Centola said. “Something needs to be done before it’s too late.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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