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West End Avenue Truck Parking Spots Yanked by DOT

By Emily Frost | July 18, 2012 3:11pm
Double parking has been a problem on West End Avenue, said the DOT.
Double parking has been a problem on West End Avenue, said the DOT.
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DNAinfo/ Emily Frost

UPPER WEST SIDE — A cluster of temporary truck-only parking zones on West End Avenue — designed to end double-parking by delivery vehicles — is being nixed after other truckers swooped in and hogged the spaces throughout the day, the city's Department of Transportation said Wednesday.

The city's 90-day pilot program which drew the ire of residents and the frustration of truck drivers — set aside a handful of commercial spaces on the residential street, where trucks are banned from driving except for deliveries.

But video footage obtained by the DOT showed that the new spaces were clogged by commercial and service trucks that sat in the spaces for much longer than the 1-hour allotment, rather than the delivery trucks that needed a quick place to park, a DOT rep revealed at a Community Board 7 transportation committee meeting Tuesday night.

"Within a week or two of us changing the regulation, tons of service trucks showed up and would stay for hours," said Stacey Hodge from the DOT's Office of Freight Mobility. "We even have footage of someone putting out cones to mark their spot."

Instead of UPS and FedEx parking in the designated zones, other commercial vehicles used the spots as free all-day parking, and the delivery vehicles continued to double park, without fear of being ticketed, said Hodge.

"One of the main problems was lack of enforcement. We're taking the videos to the NYPD to show them," said Hodge.

The West End Ave. truck parking zones were created in April between West 79th and 80th streets, West 87th and 88th streets and West 92nd and 93rd streets. Hodge said that she would put in a request to remove the parking signs this week, but the process could take several weeks.

According to Hodge, the program was created in response to requests from the trucking industry for more parking and to combat double parking.

But Hodge said that the video surveillance her team reviewed did not reveal the major double parking problem that the commercial sector had reported to the DOT. 

"The data does not warrant [commercial vehicles] continuing to have that truck loading [zone]. It warrants me telling the engineers to take the [truck parking] signs down," said Hodge.

Residents are outraged that the DOT was using West End Avenue as a testing ground to solve the problems of private commercial vehicles, specifically UPS and FedEx, which had come to the department looking for a solution to limited parking options on the avenue. 

"I don’t remember a single person in favor of this pilot," said board member Ian Alterman. 

"It’s almost as though a pilot like this is inviting commercial traffic to West End," he added.

The DOT also created pilot truck parking programs elsewhere in the city, but in all other cases they were created on commercial streets. Hodge said the program was more successful on the Upper East Side because those parking spots had muni-meters that are more regulated by the NYPD. 

But Barbara Neuhaus, a resident of West End Avenue whose apartment abuts one of the pilot parking zones, was aghast at the suggestion of muni-metered truck parking on the avenue. 

"The only thing I could see that would be more horrible than what they've done already would be to put muni parking spots there," she said. 

Hodge said her DOT team had already decided to discontinue the pilot but wanted to discuss it with the board anyway and share her findings.

The committee invited Hodge to give a longer presentation at the September full board meeting and resolved that the program end on July 22 as planned and that the DOT should continue to investigate parking solutions on West End Avenue. 

Committee member Ken Coughlin was adamant that attention to parking issues on West End Avenue not wither: “I’m not willing to give up on solving the double parking. It’s the most dangerous thing that can happen on the street.”