Truck sleepovers irk residents

Truck sleepovers irk residents
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Seventh Avenue near 92nd Street has become a truck stop, say angry residents who are demanding somebody tells the drivers who park there at night to move along.

“It started with two or three, but it’s up to seven or eight,” said Anthony Randazzo, who complained that the ongoing truck parking is changing the character of the neighborhood. “Our community [needs to] retain the residential character that it should have, and not be a zone for truck and tractor trailer parking.”

Besides Seventh Avenue, trucks also park overnight on the 92nd Street overpass over the Gowanus Expressway, Randazzo said. But, he added, the trucks don’t seem to get ticketed, despite the fact that they are violating city traffic law, which bans the parking of commercial vehicles on residential streets between 9 pm and 5 am, and which also prohibits vehicles with commercial license plates from parking more than three hours in a single location — even when they are allowed to park there.

“I never see summons on them,” Randazzo said, contending that ticketing the trucks would be a source of revenue for the cash-strapped city, as well as helping to rid local streets of an unsightly blight. “And since they don’t enforce it, it’s gotten worse and worse.”

Others agree that truckers think they can park with impunity.

“They park because they know they can get away with it,” said local truck traffic guru Bob Cassara.

Not so, said Deputy Inspector Eric Rodriguez, the commanding officer of the 68th Precinct, who said his officers monitor Seventh Avenue and other locations around the neighborhood where the problem recurs.

In fact 1,300 parking summonses were issued to commercial vehicles illegally parking within the precinct in 2010. But Bay Ridge’s top cop admitted that enforcing the law isn’t as easy as it seems.

“Some people sleep in the cabs and wait for day to come to drive off,” he said. “Can we cover it every night? No.”

Part of the problem may be that the fines are too low, and can be considered a cost of doing business by the truckers. Trucks parked on city streets in the same spot for more than three hours get $65 tickets — less than it would cost to park the rig and stay in a hotel for the night.

And, even overnight parking by commercial vehicles is not particularly painful. A first offense will set a trucker back $265; for a second offense, the hit goes up to $515.