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Bellerose burdened by trucks

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That's how drastically the constant sound of trucks rolling by his Commonwelath Boulevard home in the morning has affected him."Trucks are using (Commonwealth) because the highways are jammed," Retian, 64, said. "I'm sleeping in the basement so I don't hear the noise. This road became like a highway."Commonwealth Boulevard, a lengthy road that runs along the Cross Island Parkway from Hollis Hills to Nassau County, is a residential street and is not supposed to have 18-wheelers and other trucks driving on it unless they are making local deliveries, according to Craig Chin, a city Department of Transportation spokesman. He said "the majority of trucks" are using the road properly, but it is up to authorities other than the DOT to ensure that is the case."The Police Department can issue them tickets," Chin said. "It's an enforcement issue."Trucks that were followed by a reporter Monday morning either made a stop in the vicinity of the street or made a turn onto Jericho Turnpike.Patricia Reilly and Angela Augugliaro, who both live on Commonwealth Boulevard, said it is not only the noise that irks them but also the pollution, which prevents them from opening their windows in the summertime because their drapes get covered with soot."It's gotten to the point where I can hear a diesel engine running and I grit my teeth," said Reilly, who has lived on the street since 1969. "It's bad. It keeps getting worse and worse and worse. It's not five days a week. It's seven days a week.""It's a health hazard because we're breathing in diesel fumes," Augugliaro said.Reilly said she first noticed the problem when the nearby Glen Oaks Campus for three schools was being built in 2003, when numerous construction vehicles would use Commonwealth. "Whenever they hit, my whole house vibrated," said Augugliaro, who also claimed that the Teamsters Union would train their drivers how to drive 18-wheelers on Commonwealth.A woman who answered the phone at the union's office and identified herself as a bookkeeper said she was not aware of Augugliaro's claims and said nobody else was in the office.When Augugliaro and Reilly contacted the DOT about the problem, they said the agency also told them it is a matter of enforcement. But they said that is not the solution."That's not the cure," Augugliaro said. "You can't take police away from the jobs they're supposed to do to enforce truck traffic."They said they would like to see large no truck traffic signs posted on Commonwealth, but a DOT official said the agency is against having negative signage. He also said trucks that should not be driving on the street are aware they should not be using Commonwealth."The trucks know the routes. No signs are going to stop them," the official said. "They're trying to cut corners."The situation led Augugliaro and Reilly to contact all of their elected officials, but the truck traffic issue has not improved, they said."It's like nobody responds," Reilly said. "Your letters go to never-never land.""I don't know where else to turn," Augugliaro said. But Chin said the DOT is currently doing a truck traffic study for the entire city and Commonwealth is being considered. He said the results of the study should be out next month.

Updated 7:06 pm, October 10, 2011
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