Why are Illegal Big Trucks Operating in NYC? - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the June 2011 Juniper Berry Magazine

Why are Illegal Big Trucks Operating in NYC?

CSX Railroad 53' trailer with extended cab using Grand Ave. Photo: R. Holden

It's been a busy springtime for the Juniper Park Civic Association. JPCA led the fight for the Maspeth Truck Bypass Plan, devised by Tony Nunziato and the late civic leader, Frank Principe. We also pushed for the elimination of the Thru Truck Route on Grand Avenue. However enforcement was not in place until the JPCA got the media involved with several TV and newspaper appearances. Now NYPD is enforcing truck regulations on Grand Avenue and there has been a marked decrease in large truck traffic.

However 53' trailers, which are illegal in NYC, continue to use streets practically everywhere in the City of New York. Many trucks with 53' trailers have extended cabs that together can measure a staggering 78 feet bumper-to-bumper. That far exceeds the legal length limit for trucks using NYC streets of 55 feet bumper-to-bumper.

These massively oversized trucks are wreaking havoc on our streets. The larger and heavier tractor trailers cause traffic backups since they maneuver much slower than smaller trucks. They are also more dangerous to pedestrians and motorists because of sightlines. Larger trucks have greater difficulty negotiating turns especially in a crowded NYC. Additionally the heavier trucks cause much more damage to the transportation infrastructure. Just look at the condition of New York City streets.

So why is the Bloomberg Administration not aggressively enforcing truck size limitations? According to Stacey Hodge, Director of the Department of Transportation's Office of Freight Mobility, it's due to reduced NYPD staffing. The police just don't have enough manpower, she said.

To address this problem I recently visited Councilman Peter Vallone, chair of the city council's Public Safety Committee, to brief him on the situation. Councilman Vallone immediately fired off a letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (see right). Vallone is also set to address the JPCA membership on June 23rd in Middle Village. We thank Councilman Vallone for his assistance.