Big rigs begone! Cops haul away 17 illegally parked trucks in major raid

The NYPD is finally cracking down on Bay Parkway’s big rig problem — but outraged residents say the nightly, sleep-shattering noises coming from idling trucks illegally parked along the strip should have been silenced years ago.

Cops converged between 58th and E. Fifth streets on Wednesday night, towing 17 trucks and issuing 21 summonses in their first major campaign against the long-simmering problem.

Residents of the area have often complained that truck drivers were taking advantage of the lax parking enforcement, turning the quiet street — which abuts Washington Cemetery — into a grid-locked industrial parking lot full of big rigs, tractor trailers and other large vehicles.

Cops from the 66th precinct — who conducted the raid along with the Department of Transportation — promised that they would continue to police the problem.

“We’ll continue to enforce [the parking laws],” a precinct representative told us.

Cops needed to borrow the biggest tow trucks in the Department of Transportation’s fleet to cart the offending wide loads out of the area, officials said.

The section of Bay Parkway truckers use is residentially zoned, according to the Department of City Planning, making overnight parking of commercial trucks illegal.

But that didn’t stop the truck drivers, who residents claim have been parking on the strip for months.

The truck crack down had residents breathing sighs of relief. But those sighs would turn to angry mutterings if the city doesn’t make good on its promise to monitor the problem in the future.

“Finally, thank god!” said Ben Lapidus, applauding this week’s police raid. The noise from idling trucks had been keeping his family up at night, Lapidus said, hoping that the police monitor his part of Bay Parkway more closely. “It will be good for us to know what their plan is going forward. It’s been a long battle.”

In addition to the noise issues, residents say the illegally parked big rigs created an unsavory and trash-filled atmosphere on the block and destroyed many of the area’s oak trees. Lapidus said he not only saw trash, but urine-filled water bottles scattered along Bay Parkway once the truckers left.

“With the economy the way it is and values of homes coming down, we didn’t need this around here right now,” said a 20-year resident of Bay Parkway, who would only identify himself as Mike. “Nobody wants to look at tractor trailers parked in front of their house.”

The NYPD won’t be the only agency monitoring the situation from here on in: the Department of Environmental Protection will be routinely inspecting the area and issuing violations for air quality issues stemming from excessive idling, city officials said. The Department of Transportation will also install “no idling” signs in the area.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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