New York crackdown on illegally parked trucks ‘not about going after an industry’ says mayor

August 25, 2022

Ryan Witkowski


With officials in New York City cracking down on illegally parked commercial vehicles in residential areas, the Trucking Association of New York is saying drivers simply have nowhere to park.

On Aug. 15, at the request of Mayor Eric Adams, the New York Police Department began conducting operation “Heavy Duty Enforcement.” The operation targets illegally parked commercial vehicles in neighborhoods of southern Queens.

“If you park commercial vehicles illegally, you will get ticketed, towed or given the boot,” Adams said in a statement. “For far too long, large commercial vehicles have been parking illegally in this neighborhood, disrupting daily life, and contributing to noise, traffic, and pollution. We cannot let our neighborhood streets turn into illegal parking lots. I want every New Yorker to know your city is looking out for you and your quality of life.”

The enforcement action – which spans several NYPD commands, bureaus, and city agencies – consists of three teams utilizing heavy tow operations, booting, and summonsing enforcement. According to officials, NYPD issued 597 summonses, attached 89-wheel clamps, and towed 55 illegally parked vehicles to a temporary storage facility during the first five days of the operation.

Officials say the overnight enforcement is in response to community-generated complaints. Mayor Adams says the crackdown isn’t intended to “go after” the trucking industry.

“This has been a problem,” Adams said in a video posted to his Twitter account. “It’s not about going after an industry, it’s about having an industry not go after a community. This is a quality-of-life issue. We want to resolve this issue. We’ve heard about it for years.”

According to NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell, illegally parked big trucks have had a negative impact on the area highlighted in the crackdown.

“Working in close collaboration with neighborhood residents, the New York City Police Department continues to improve the quality of life of all the people we serve,” Sewell said in a statement. “Our enforcement actions are community-focused, intelligence-driven, and implemented based on the specific needs of each New York City neighborhood. These illegally parked commercial vehicles were negatively impacting this community — and when New Yorkers reached out, the NYPD responded.”

The crackdown may seem harsh to truckers seeking a place to park, but the laws are pretty clear. According to section 4-08 (k) (6) of the New York City parking rules, large commercial vehicles are prohibited from parking on residential streets overnight between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., seven days a week.

It’s simple to say “the rules are the rules,” but the sometimes the practical application of those rules can be a slippery slope. That’s the contention of Kendra Hems, president of the Trucking Association of New York, who says truckers in the empire state face a complete lack of adequate parking.

“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,” Hems said in a statement. “Heavy enforcement alone has not worked in the past and will not work now absent available commercial vehicle parking. The reality is that drivers, many of them our neighbors, family and friends, simply have nowhere to park. This is not their personal vehicle but the vehicle that embodies their livelihood and provides for their family.”

Hems said the issue is actually a symptom of a bigger problem, one that is all too familiar to many truckers. She says that city leaders should be doing more to remedy the parking issues for trucks.

“This is why the city must address the underlying issue of inadequate truck parking in all five boroughs,” she said. “The industry is taking steps but we cannot do this alone, 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.”

While the crisis of truck parking was not address by 2021’s bipartisan infrastructe law, there has been some progress towards combating the issue. In July 2022, H.R.2187, known as the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, advanced through the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The bipartisan bill authorizes $755 million in funding over four years and ensures it will be free to park at facilities constructed with funding from the bill.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has worked for years to address the national truck parking shortage. In February 2022, the Association sent a joint letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, urging the U.S. DOT to take action to address the nationwide truck parking shortage.

“Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the trucking industry and the backbone of the supply chain, but the shortage of truck parking belies the essential nature of their work,” the letter read. “Truck drivers consistently rank truck parking availability as a top industry concern in annual driver surveys, yet little has been done to address this challenge. LL

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