October/November 1999, p.11

Residents Demand Relief from Canal Street Trucks

Monster trucks in SoHo is no exagerration.On July 8, more than 100 residents of Tribeca, SoHo, and the West Village attended a meeting with officials from the City's Transportation, Planning, and Police Departments to discuss the growing truck nightmare on Canal Street and in their neighborhoods. Much of the traffic comes from trucks headed from Brooklyn or Long Island to New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel as a way of avoiding the costly toll on the Verrazano Bridge. Angry residents had a whole shopping list of familiar complaints: fatal dangers to pedestrians (especially kids); unhealthy air pollution levels, particularly lung-destroying diesel particulates; noise and vibrations from trucks barreling along their streets; the non-enforcement of rules against oversized trucks; and truck drivers straying from approved routes.

At the meeting, residents, T.A. and elected officials, including Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Councilmember Kathryn Freed, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and State Senator Tom Duane, denounced the ever-growing Canal Street fiasco and offered a range of solutions, from two-way variable-price tolling on the Verrazano Bridge to new regulations that would limit truck size to a maximum of 33 feet (from 55 feet currently) and stepped-up enforcement of truck routes and size. Representatives from the City provided few answers other than the time honored "we're doing the best we can" and "we'll have to wait and see." T.A. called for an oversized trucks crackdown, and has filed for NYPD's truck enforcement statistics under the Freedom of Information Law.

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