Queensboro Hill wants spot for delivery trucks

Trucks line up behind Zong Hua foods to wait for a spot by the loading dock, clogging traffic and inducing a symphony of honking horns. Photo by Joe Anuta
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Queensboro Hill residents called on the city to alleviate a recurring traffic nightmare on 142nd Street caused by double-parked delivery trucks, but transportation officials said the solution is to simply obey the law.

The ruling by the city Department of Transportation did not sit well with Don Capalbi, president of the Queensboro Hill Neighborhood Association, who has been trying in vain to fix the problem with a designated loading zone.

“When months ago we all met at the site in question, there seemed a full consensus that a simple, time-restricted curbside loading zone of maybe three car lengths would solve all issues,” he said in a statement. “This meeting was later followed by a unilateral DOT denial.”

Delivery trucks bringing supplies to Zong Hua Supermarket, at 59-11 Main St., have been double parking outside the back of the store in order to cart supplies inside, according to a manager at the store, Ann Tuyen.

Because there is no commercial loading zone, the trucks sit in the small road illegally, clogging traffic.

The supermarket has a specified loading dock in the back of the store facing 142nd Street, but the problem is that the dock is in a parking lot used by customers and employees of the grocer and two other businesses on the block.

The parking lot holds about 30 cars that park against the back of the building and against the edge of 142nd Street, leaving one lane down the middle.

Employees of other businesses said the parking lot is too small for the trucks, which either take up too much valuable space or ding up other vehicles as the lumbering machines attempt to maneuver out of the lot.

“Not too long ago I parked my car in back of the supermarket and one of the delivery trucks broke off my side mirror,” said Martha Morena, who works at the neighboring Dime Savings Bank.

On Friday morning, about seven trucks — which would have trouble fitting in the parking lot even if there were no cars in it — were waiting their turn double parked on 142nd Street, much to the ire of stranded motorists who laid on their horns.

Once a truck unloaded its wares, it left the parking lot and another moved in.

The solution, according to Capalbi, is to create a commercial loading zone on 142nd Street that would prohibit parking for cars to allow the trucks space to unload.

According to Tuyen, since no residential units actually face the street, it would not be too big of a burden on residents.

But the city Department of Transportation said that the store already has sufficient parking in the back of the store, the trucks need to use it and stop clogging traffic on 142nd Street.

In addition, the DOT said off-street parking makes the streets safer for pedestrians.

The DOT’s denial of the loading zone was brought up at a recent Community Board 7 meeting to the irritation of Marlyn Bitterman, district manager of CB 7.

“Why do we have a problem in Queens getting commercial parking?” Bitterman asked the DOT representative. “I’m going to keep fighting for this.”

Other board members present at the meeting thought it was a case of the city brushing concerns from the outerborough under the rug.

“This borough is abused compared to Manhattan,” said Gene Kelty, chairman of CB 7.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 5:46 pm, February 29, 2012
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