Finding a parking space is complicated enough without having to worry about commercial trucks illegally parking overnight on residential streets.
To address this issue, which continues to plague residential neighborhoods in Eastern Queens, New York City Councilwoman Linda Lee approached DOT representatives during a Transportation and Infrastructure hearing, about the department’s efforts to correct the issue.
“A lot of colleagues of mine are struggling with the commercial truck parking issue which has been prevalent in Queens, and I know the Bronx as well,” Lee said. “It’s been something that the State and City have been trying to address through legislation and higher fines for some of the commercial truck drivers, but also there are no places for them to park. I know a lot of us are hearing from our constituents about this because it is also causing litter and other issues related to commercial truck parking.”
Lee suggested that the department explore options to increase overnight off-street parking for trucks and commercial vehicles, including potentially using federal funding to expand the parking infrastructure.
Commercial truck drivers are limited in the number of hours they can drive each day and are required to take mandatory rest stops if they exceed those hours. Because of this, many park illegally in residential communities, particularly in the outer boroughs, causing concern over the quality of life.
Moreover, the already existing parking lots near JFK Airport and other shipping hubs are currently at full capacity and are unable to accommodate the demand for parking. Several even have waitlists for the next available spot.
Due to the rise of e-commerce, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, trucking in New York City has increased significantly while commercial parking has remained limited.
Lee suggested that because of a lack of off-street parking for trucks and commercial vehicles, many companies and owner-operators are left to pay the fines as a cost of doing business. She also indicated that enforcement through booting and towing operations has also proven insufficient due to the overwhelming number of trucks involved and the limited towing and storage space available.
DOT replied that they are working with the NYC Economic Development Corporation to expand sites for overnight commercial truck parking, but could not provide specifics regarding the proposed locations or the estimated number of additional spots.
New York State lawmakers are also considering two active bills that aim to stiffen penalties for trucks left unattended overnight.
One would seek to increase fines specifically for tractor-trailers, truck trailers, tractors, and semi-trailers parked on residential streets in New York City, while the other, would increase fines to $1,000 for illegally parked trailers and semitrailers “in a city with a population of one million or more.” Both proposals are currently in committee.