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September 1, 2022 12:32 PM, EDT

Stakeholders Grapple With Shortage of NYC Truck Parking

Truck parked on NYC streetTruck parked on street by Linda Lee, New York City council member

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The Trucking Association of New York and state leaders are looking to address a shortage of truck parking in the New York City area that has led to trucks being towed and booted, and which has prompted an effort in the state Legislature to increase fines for trucks parked illegally in residential areas.

“Heavy enforcement alone has not worked in the past and will not work now absent available commercial vehicle parking,” said Kendra Hems, president of the Trucking Association of New York. The police department’s “Operation Heavy Duty Enforcement” targeted overnight parking of commercial vehicles in residential neighborhoods of southern Queens.



Hems added, “While we in no way condone parking on residential streets where it is illegal to do so, we feel it is imperative to understand that we cannot ticket our way out of this problem. The reality is that drivers — many of them our neighbors, family and friends — simply have nowhere to park.”

Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey said the enforcement blitz was prompted by community complaints. During a five-day operation, police issued 635 summonses, attached 89 vehicle boots and towed 55 illegally parked vehicles. “I spend a lot of time in this neighborhood, and I’ve noticed personally how the residential blocks have been inundated with these large vehicles that should not be parking overnight,” he said.

Maddrey gathered with Mayor Eric Adams, city council members and other officials at an August press conference in front of towed vehicles to discuss the initiative.

The issue also caught the attention of state lawmakers. Identical versions of a bill to raise fines for overnight parking of tractors and trailers on residential NYC streets were introduced in the state Senate and Assembly. Both measures stalled.

Acknowledging a shortage of available truck parking in the city, Adams said officials are partnering with a combination of city agencies “to deal with this long-term issue.” Hems said city officials must address the underlying issue of inadequate truck parking in all five boroughs.

Trucking Association of New York President Kendra Hems

Hems

“The industry is taking steps, but we cannot do this alone,” she said. “We need our partners in government to dedicate the time and resources to resolve this problem. The industry must be part of this process and we are eager to work with this administration to finally find meaningful, long-term solutions that benefit all New Yorkers, drivers included.”

Linda Lee, who represents the 23rd Council District in Eastern Queens, told Transport Topics that truck parking has been a particular problem in Queens, where JFK and LaGuardia airports — among the nation’s busiest — are located. However, the problem has mushroomed since the pandemic.

She acknowledged that trucks ship 90% of goods transported within the city, serving about 9 million New Yorkers. Lee also noted that available truck parking lots at John F. Kennedy International Airport and in Long Island City “are now at total capacity with long wait lists” for available spaces.

“While many of these truckers work for large-scale companies, a portion of these drivers are small business owner-operator members of our community,” she said. “We are not looking to punish small business owners who are trying to make ends meet, and we want to encourage truck drivers to take their mandated breaks. At the same time, we want to bring in large-scale companies to be part of the solution in a way that can benefit both the drivers and the community. We need to expand the infrastructure in New York City in a way that is safe and effective for the drivers and also helps our neighborhoods.”

In May, the city formed a truck parking task force that has been considering expanding parking on city-owned land at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, Brooklyn Navy Yard and JFK airport.

Selvina Brooke-Powers, another city council member, said, “We have to find the balance and continue the conversations to find alternative options for our trucks to be able to park, while at the same time not impacting the quality of life for the residents of this community.”

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