Friday’s Headlines: Plague of Illegal Trucks Edition

A trucker driving an illegally large vehicle in lower Manhattan crashed between City Hall and the Municipal Building. Photo: Shmuli Evers
A trucker driving an illegally large vehicle in lower Manhattan crashed between City Hall and the Municipal Building. Photo: Shmuli Evers

Many New Yorkers have skipped town for the last long weekend of the summer but not, apparently, the drivers of illegal, super long tractor-trailer trucks — vehicles that have no business on our streets outside of designated routes but always seem to be fetching up everywhere.

Thursday afternoon, a driver wedged an illegal 53-foot semi under the elevated tracks of the No. 1 train in Inwood, which is on a stretch of Tenth Avenue that converges with Broadway:

It’s hardly an isolated occurrence. “This happens at least once a week under this section of the 1 train,” tweeted one area resident.

It’s not surprising that truck drivers might think of that section of Tenth Avenue as their playground because, as Streetsblog has reported, the gritty, industrial area notoriously lacks police and Sanitation enforcement. One wonders, however, whether all the crashing into the MTA infrastructure weakens the subway’s foundation. amNY also wrote up the trespassing trucker.

In the early evening yesterday, the driver of another such behemoth made a right turn at the corner of Chambers and Centre streets in lower Manhattan, toward City Hall Park, and took down a light pole, complete with a Walk/Don’t Walk sign and a security camera that watches City Hall and the Municipal Building. The driver’s employer, Western Express — and not the taxpayers — better pay for the damage, we hope.

The two crashes happened just days after another semi driver ran over and killed a cyclist at a dangerous intersection at Linden Boulevard and Pennsylvania Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn. “Linden Boulevard is a local truck route, not a through truck route, but many drivers use it to cross Brooklyn and access Queens or Long Island,” Streetsblog noted in 2015.

A tractor trailer driver also killed cyclist Carling Mott on East 85th Street in Manhattan in late July — an investigation that is ongoing.

Was it an illegal tractor trailer? The New York Personal Injury Attorneys Blog, a trade publication, writes that “there is a good probability” that the truck driver “was there illegally,” because 85th Street between Madison Avenue and Park Avenue “is not part of the official truck routes” and “video published on Streetblog shows a very large food service tractor-trailer truck which looks like 53-foot long tractor trailers” — that is, the illegal ones.

We have so many illegal trucks on our streets, in fact, that a Twitter account, Illegal 53′ Tractor Trailer, chronicles their drivers’ depredations.

Mayor Adams recently announced a crackdown, “Operation Heavy Duty Enforcement,” on the overnight storage of tractor trailers on city streets. “We cannot let our neighborhood streets turn into illegal parking lots,” he said at a night-time presser in Queens. What about daylight hours enforcement of theses truck on thoroughfares where they plainly don’t belong?

In other news:

  • Curbed makes the case for containerized trash — the latest in its “hot garbage month” series.
  • It’s charges dismissed and a conflict-resolution course for the lone cop who was criminally charged in the brutality around the George Floyd protests. (The City)
  • A retired NYPD officer got the stiffest sentence yet of the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. (NYDN, Gothamist)
  • Another e-bike fire, this one at a Brooklyn high-rise. (amNY)
  • A Staten Island man used his car to resist arrest, injuring officers, cops said. (SI Advance)
  • The Gateway tunnel’s new, higher price tag got more ink. (Gothamist, amNY)
  • In another hit and run, a couple with a child on a moped hit a 13-year-old in Mott Haven, absconding after breaking the teen’s leg. (NYDN)
  • Extra! Extra! Schermerhorn bike lane emerges! (Via Twitter)