UPPER WEST SIDE — A Department of Transportation pilot program that put truck-only parking spaces on West End Avenue in hopes of curtailing double-parked vehicles is set to end next week — and both residents and truck drivers are calling it a failure.
The 90-day pilot program, which launched in late April with the authorization of Community Board 7, created six oversized commercial parking spaces in a 25-block radius on West End Avenue to "address truck double-parking and related congestion issues," a DOT representative said.
But the spots — between West 79th and 80th streets, West 87th and 88th streets and West 92nd and 93rd streets — are too scarce to help the hordes of busy delivery trucks that come to the area, including UPS, FedEx and Fresh Direct, drivers said.
Dozens of trucks were double-parked along the stretch on Thursday and Friday afternoon, as the designated truck spots were already taken up by other delivery trucks. Critics say the trucks that do park in the spaces stay much longer than the alloted 1-hour parking time because police do little to ticket the scofflaws.
Andrew Albert, co-chair of Community Board 7's transportation committee, said in an email that the board has "gotten a slew of complaints about this program. Namely — it is NOT being used by the vehicles intended, it blocks entrances of many apartment houses where seniors and those utilizing access-a-ride need to go, and more."
He added that the transportation committee plans to have a community discussion about the program, which is slated to end July 22.
Critics say they're doing everything they can to make sure it doesn't continue past the 90-day window.
"I think [the pilot] is ill-conceived. It’s causing considerable disruption to the people in our building," said Barry Lipton, the co-op president of 400 West End Ave., which abuts one of the truck parking sections.
He said he and other building residents are trying to make sure the pilot isn't extended.
Lipton said the trucks have caused havoc in terms of school bus pick-up and drop-off, elderly access to the building, the ability to hail a taxicab or drop people off, and preventing street cleaning, among other things.
The West End Preservation Society and groups of concerned residents reached out to CB7 and City Councilwoman Gale Brewer's office in hopes of getting them to put pressure on the DOT to roll back the program.
CB7 Board Chair Mark Diller said the DOT told the board it was closely monitoring the study and would generate and present a report to the board some time after the pilot ends.
DOT reps declined to comment on the status of the pilot program, or whether it would be extended, but they said they would give a presentation on the program on Tuesday evening at CB7's transportation committee meeting.
But even drivers said the program was too scant to put an end to double-parking.
"They're really isn't enough truck parking on West End. I can prove it by the tickets I've been getting," said UPS driver Jules Aponte, who was parked illegally at West End Avenue and West 96th Street on Friday afternoon.
Marino Aguilar of the company Beverage Plus was parked illegally while unloading boxes of soda from his truck to a corner store at West End Avenue and West 96th Street. Three blocks away, the spaces in the pilot program were already taken by other trucks.
"It's very hard to find a spot," said Aguilar, as he moved back and forth quickly to his double parked truck.
Resident Barbara Neuhaus, who lives in a building in front of one of the new truck parking spaces on West End Avenue, said she's afraid that truck parking zones will take over the street, turning the corridor from residential to commercial.
"They're changing the nature of West End Avenue. Are they doing this on Park Avenue or other residential streets?" she asked.
"When [the DOT] tries to [put truck parking] on every corner, you'll hear an uproar," Neuhaus said.