‘It’s a quality of life issue’: Southern Brooklyn calls for crackdown on illegally parked tractor-trailers

illegally parked tractor-trailer getting booted
The New York City Police Department has booted, towed, and ticketed thousands of illegally-parked tractor-trailers and trucks in southern Brooklyn — but residents say it hasn’t been enough to dissuade truck drivers.
Photo courtesy of New York City Police Department

For years, illegally-parked trucks and tractor-trailers have plagued southern Brooklyn neighborhoods — causing trash build up along the curb, occupying valuable parking spaces, and affecting the overall quality of life for locals, who are asking the New York City Police Department to crack down on the issue.

One Bay Ridge townie, who asked not to be named because she works for a government agency, has lived in the community for 15 years and began noticing the problem in 2019, she said, but it’s been exacerbated during the pandemic. For the past few months, she has noticed the trucks linger on the streets for extended periods of time. 

“There not parking them, they’re literally storing them there. They have a system where they pick each other up,” she told Brooklyn Paper. “You can go out there and scream all you want, they don’t care.”

A hosts of tractor-trailers line a Bay Ridge road.
Residents of southern Brooklyn say the roads are often lined with illegally-parked trucks and tractor trailers — and, to add insult to injury, truck drivers often leave trash behind on the curb. Photo courtesy of Bay Ridge resident

She says truck owners not only cause congestion but also discard tires, food and other trash on the streets. 

During the holiday season, Brooklynites once again reported an influx of unlawfully parked tractor-trailers on the outskirts of neighborhoods like Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, specifically near the Dyker Beach Golf Course on 86th Street at Seventh Avenue. 

“I used to run there and now I don’t go near that park. It’s disgusting,” the anonymous Bay Ridgeite said.“It’s a quality of life issue.” 

A team of politicians and NYPD precincts has teamed up to cure the recurring problem after residents brought the issue to the attention of local law enforcement. 

“This has been a very frustrating game of Whack-a-Mole,” local Councilmember Justin Brannan said. The pol has been trying to solve the issue since at least 2019 — partnering with city agencies and the police to try to prevent the vehicles from setting up shop long-term. 

Despite consistent ticketing, the drivers keep reappearing. The pol told Brooklyn Paper that he and the local police precincts are working in tandem with area institutions to create more lasting solutions.

“Long term we are we are working with Maimonides Health and the NYC Department of Transportation to implement back-in angle parking along the golf course side from Poly Prep to the VA Hospital. This would kill two birds with one stone by providing more parking spots for residents and preventing trucks from parking here overnight,” he said. “In the meantime, we work closely with the NYPD to ticket, tow, and boot illegally parked vehicles on a regular basis.”

tractor trailer with boot
A number of trucks were booted and ticketed during a recent ticketing operation. Photo courtesy of New York City Police Department

A spokesperson for the NYPD told Brooklyn Paper that cops recently performed a weeklong joint operation with the 68th Precinct — which encompasses Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights — to target illegally parked tractor trailers. Year to date, their officers and Patrol Borough Brooklyn South have issued 6,875 summonses for illegally parked tractor trailers and towed 27 tractor trailers.

“The NYPD along with our government partners at the Department of Transportation and Department of Citywide Administrative Services will continue to conduct joint operations and have robust enforcement summonsing and towing these violators and their vehicles to address the communities’ concerns,” the NYPD spokesperson said. 

A DOT representative referred Brooklyn Paper back to the NYPD for comment.

The department maintains a list of rules and restrictions for commercial vehicles stating, “No person shall park any trailer or semi-trailer on any street or arterial highway, except while loading or unloading at off-street platforms, unless such trailer or semi-trailer is attached to a motor vehicle capable of towing it.” 

According to their website, no commercials cars are allowed to be parked in residential areas fro 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

But, officials maintain that until there is viable parking for the drivers of these tractor-trailers, the problem will persist. State senator Andrew Gounardes and Brannan have formed an interagency illegal truck parking task force that meets once a month to assess the issue.

“The city really needs to give these trucks a legal place to park,” Brannan said in a statement.  “That is the only solution.”

truck parked illegally in dyker heights
Large trucks and tractor-trailers have been parking illegally on the streets around the Dyker Heights golf course for years — and locals say nothing has helped. File photo by Rose Adams

One Coney Island local — and former pol — says the problem extends to the People’s Playground.

“We watch from our window as they drive up and look at the trailers and the officers keep going,” said former Assemblymember Pam Harris. “The response from 60 to the 311 complaint is no investigation is necessary.”

Harris, who served six months in prison following her conviction for two counts of wire fraud, one count of disaster relief fraud and one count of witness tampering, says 18-wheelers have been an issue for years outside of her home on Neptune Avenue, and that the massive vehicles often squeeze into spots between 27th and 30th streets. She and her fellow neighbors believe officers’ responses have been less than satisfactory.

“Our biggest concern is what may be housed in these trucks,” she said. “Also our loss of parking spaces at night and why is it ok that our quality of life can be disturb with out any concern from the police department.”

Dyker Beach Golf Course did not respond to Brooklyn Paper’s request for comment.