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City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) and civic members called upon the NYPD and city Department of Transportation Monday to better enforce truck traffic laws in Woodside.
The members of the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together, a civic group, said at a news conference at 65th Place and 50th Avenue that trucks pass through the neighborhood daily and at all hours, making noise and wrecking the roads.
Even though the designated truck route through Maspeth/Woodside from the Long Island Expressway to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway is Maurice Avenue to 58th Street — a roadway that is mostly bordered by cemeteries — many truckers drive their 18-wheelers through the residential neighborhoods.
“This is not acceptable,” Van Bramer said. “We are not looking the other way.”
Driving on roads outside the truck route is already illegal for trucks if they are not using them to make deliveries, but the elected officials urged the NYPD to increase enforcement and the DOT to erect signs noting that it is against the law for trucks to drive through 65th Place.
A city DOT spokesman said although the truck routes are posted online and elsewhere, the department would look into the issue.
“Based on this request, we will inspect the area and see if any signs enhancements or other enhancements are needed,” he said.
The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment.
Van Bramer said the trucks impede the air quality and bring pollution, but also have caused damage to the streets, which do not have the capacity to constantly withstand the 18-wheeler trucks driving over them.
“The streets were not built for and are not prepared for these trucks,” Van Bramer said.
Crowley, who grew up in the neighborhood and still has a home near 65th Place, said the trucks also sometimes damage trees and get lost on side streets, where they can get stuck because the streets are too narrow for the trucks to pass.
“It’s about air quality. It’s about noise pollution. It’s about infrastructure,” Crowley said.
COMET member Al Blieka said an 8-foot-by-8-foot grating used to cover the controls for a traffic light at 65th Place and 51st Avenue had been shaken loose due to the heavy truck traffic driving over it. He said trucks sometimes travel down the length of Maurice Avenue, passing by PS 229 at 67-25 51st Road during school hours.
“It’s really a dangerous situation,” Blieka said.
COMET President Roe Daraio said she thought enforcement might be more important than signs, as truckers are required to know the routes. She suggested that deterrents like cameras or medians on 65th Place may be more effective.
“They just cut through here like bats out of hell,” she said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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