Curbing NYC's Truck
To its credit, the Department
of Transportation has embarked on the difficult task of taming trucks in New
York City. For years, huge numbers of trucks have strayed from truck routes,
double parked and overwhelmed city neighborhoods with noise, vibration, air
pollution and danger. In June, the DOT launched the New York City Truck Route
Management and Community Impact Reduction Study with the firm of Edwards and
Kelcey as its consultant. The study resurrects an earlier effort which sank
under harsh community criticism that it was biased in favor of truckers.
|The DOT is conducting
a new study to tame truck traffic on neighborhood streets. In order to
reduce the full extent of truck impact on city streets and
neighborhoods, the DOT should follow the recommendations below.
The focus of the current
study is keeping trucks on truck routes through improved signage, enforcement
and street engineering. However, the DOT has insisted in public meetings that
it wants the study to examine a wide range of measures to reduce truck
impacts. In July, T.A., the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, NY
Environmental Justice Alliance and other groups recommended to the DOT a
number of things that the City can do to reduce the harmful side effects of
trucks, including identifying ways to keep trucks on designated routes and out
of neighborhoods using traffic engineering, enforcement and education.
1. Traffic calming
Refine traffic calming approaches to keeping trucks on legal and appropriate
routes, as the DOT has done in some Bronx and Staten Island neighborhoods.
2. Use "No Trucks" signs The DOT says that
"negative" signage does not seem effective at discouraging illegal
truck traffic, yet many police officials have told us that the signs encourage
police enforcement and make summonses easier to uphold in court.
3. Assess automated truck enforcement cameras
4. Improve police enforcement The lack of effective police enforcement
of existing truck routes and regulations is a huge problem. We need to
understand how police enforcement currently does and does not work,
- Determine the kinds and
number of truck summonses given and how they are adjudicated.
- Assess how to use
TrafficStat to improve truck enforcement.
- Gather examples of
effective police enforcement and training strategies.
- Consider implications of
pending state legislation that would impose higher fines for driving off
of designated routes, and push the State Department of Motor Vehicles to
impose fines for this offense.
5. Use smart parking
policies to reduce truck double parking The underpricing of curbside
parking causes widespread double parking, especially by trucks making
deliveries to retailers and by commercial service vehicles.
- Expand the commercial
vehicle congestion pricing program beyond midtown.
- Increase on-street parking
fees where double-parking trucks are a problem.
- Identify locations where
government permit parking forces trucks to double park and seek to reduce
or relocate permit parking.
6. Expand restrictions on
the biggest trucks Current city rules bar trucks over 55-feet long (unless
given a special permit by the DOT) at various times of day from three
congested areas in Manhattan.
7. Keep trucks on highways where possible and appropriate As much truck
traffic as possible should be re-routed from city avenues and streets to the
limited-access highway network.
8. Non-stop tolls Non-stop tolls that use E-ZPass or license plate
cameras connected to computers like those in London have eliminated the reason
for the destructive one-way toll on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge that funnels
trucks into lower Manhattan.
Getting the most from the
- Ensure trucking interest
participate in the truck study.
- Use the internet to share
findings and update the public.
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