The lack of proper rest areas for truckers has created a problem nationwide, but in one neighborhood in the Bronx in New York City, the situation has gotten so bad that the message to truckers is an unequivocal “Stay out!” The Bronx is the point where highways I-95, I-87, and I-287 meet, and yet truck parking is still extremely scarce. So when truckers need a place to spend their federally mandated breaks, there’s nowhere to take them except on the side of the road in neighborhoods where homes routinely cost $600,000. District manager of Bronx Community Board 10, Kenneth Kearns, said that the truck parking problem is becoming a “quality of life issue” for the residents in his district.
“The trucks tend to be very big, very old and very dirty,” Kearns said. “They sit there grinding away all night long, while the drivers are in the back sleeping. We are not interested in our community board becoming a truck stop.”
The community board has instated a new fine for truckers idling in the streets. A single infraction can cost up to $515. Kearns defended the fine, saying that the board’s role is to deal with concerns of the taxpayers who live in the community, and that the commercial vehicles are currently a huge concern. He says the trucks take up valuable parking spaces and make disturbing noise all night while they idle during drivers’ off hours.
“I don’t know how to talk to them. I don’t know who they are, but they don’t live in this neighborhood… They wander off the highway and end up parking on city streets where they shouldn’t be… I can’t even venture to guess where you could put them. Nobody wants them.”
Despite the fact that there is already inadequate parking, there are new plans for an outlet mall in the works. Certainly the overcrowding issue will only get worse in the years to come, but is raising fines on truckers who have no place else to park really the answer?
“We aren’t out to ticket them out of business,” Kearns said. “We are just asking for some sensitivity on the truckers’ part. If there is some way to deal with them in a more creative fashion, we would be happy to consider it.”
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