Give ‘em the boot!
A civic association triumvirate representing Marine Park, Mill Basin, and Mill Island have pledged money to buy commercial-grade wheel boots for the 63rd Precinct, in an effort to curb the plague of 18-wheel trucke illegally parking their big rigs in residential spots.
“Mill Island pledged up to $1000 to help the city by purchasing a boot to be used in the Community Board 18 area, together with the Mill Basin and Marine Park Civic Association,” said Mill Island Civic Association President Sol Needle.
The civic associations have been complaining to the 63rd Precinct about the large commercial vehicles parking along Avenue U, Hendrickson Street, and Bergen Avenue for years, and while police officers are eager to ticket the spot hogging trucks, their drivers are just as eager to pay the fine in lieu of even more expensive commercial parking spots, according to Needle.
“They’re willing to accept a ticket for illegal parking because it’s cheaper than parking in a commercial garage,” he said. “So people who live in the community are naturally upset that these humongous trucks are soaking up a lot of parking spots.”
The precinct doesn’t have tow trucks large enough to cart off the massive vehicles, but the civic groups have decided that giving local law enforcement big metal boots to immobilize offending trucks will make the truckers think twice about leaving their rigs wherever they please.
“Way back it was decided that [police] could boot the vehicle — that way they would have to pay for any outstanding tickets to have it removed, plus pay to have the boot removed, plus pay the illegal parking fine,” said Needle.
More importantly, a booted truck can’t haul cargo until the device is removed, which costs truckers far more than a simple fine or fee.
The truck boots cost roughly $800 each, meaning that if Marine Park and Mill Basin civic associations match Mill Island’s pledge, the 63rd Precinct would have more than enough for three of the big, iron deterrents in the war against illegal parking.
“There’s no reason that they shouldn’t have bought them already,” said Community Board 18 district manager Dorothy Turano. “They do have funds and they can get these.”
The community has been talking about getting the boots for the precinct for some time, but it looks like they’re finally ready to make a purchase, according to Nick Miller, a member of the 63rd Precinct Community Council.
“We’re moving forward with it, and we’ll be making a purchase in the next few months,” said Miller.
According to state Assemblyman Alan Maisel, the civic associations were a bit reluctant to buy the boots for fear the 63rd Precinct may loan out the boots to other precincts.
“I’m sure most of the civics will kick in money, so it’s just a question of hearing from the precinct promising they won’t go to other parts of the city,” said Maisel.
That’s a promise the 63rd Precinct is willing to make, according to Community Affairs Officer Thomas Podd.
“I have a closet picked out just for these boots,” said Podd. “Once we get them, we’re going to etch 63rd Precinct right on the boots and I’ll be the only one with a key, so, if someone wants to get them out, they’re going to have to come to me.”
Podd also said that the precinct is working on getting access to a super-sized tow truck for a day or two and impounding one of the illegally parked rigs.Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cn