Residents are frustrated with trucks that won’t go away. Several 18-wheelers, some of which are used to transport cars, park on the north side of 73rd Avenue, between 210th Street and the Clearview Expressway, along Cunningham Park. The trucks come and go regularly, but they usually return.
Sometimes the line of trucks is merely an eyesore in a residential area, but when the Auburndale soccer league plays games on their Cunningham Park fields, the situation is downright dangerous. Since each truck takes up several spots, parents often double- and triple-park when they go to drop off and pick up their children. Traffic on that stretch of 73rd Avenue typically exceeds 40 miles per hour.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Debbie Luongo, the league’s vice president, said.
She added that the situation is particularly bad on weekend mornings when there are up to 500 children on the fields for the league’s intramural games, as well as the First Kicks program for 3- to 5-year-olds, and games for children with special needs.
“Many people don’t have an extra adult, so we have small children walking on their own into our facilities while the adult finds parking,” Luongo said.
Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) said that he has reported the trucks to the police numerous times and written several letters about the trucks, but the problem has persisted for over a year.
“It’s very infuriating,” Weprin said. “It is an issue and it annoys the heck out of me.”
Bob Harris, president of the Cunningham Park Civic Association and a member of Community Board 8, also said that he has complained to the police about the trucks and that “Sgt. Steele from the 107th Precinct said he’d take care of it.”
A source from the 107th said the precinct receives complaints and has “issued summonses and taken initiatives,” but the trucking company pays the tickets because “it’s easier for them to pay the tickets than pay for storage.”
While the 18-wheelers and auto-transport trucks can be towed, the precinct said that it is difficult to store the trucks. The city only has a few tow trucks capable of towing such large vehicles.
Martha Taylor, a member of CB 8, said that the police are reluctant to tow the trucks because of the effort it requires, but that they are more likely to do so if more people call 311 to complain.
The trucks are legally entitled to park there for up to three hours, but they are not allowed to park overnight, Weprin said. The trucks come and go, which is apparent when the auto-transport trucks are full one day, and empty the next.
Weprin wrote a letter about the truck activity to NYPD traffic manager M. Chowdhury, Capt. Fredrick Grover of the 107th Precinct, and CBs 8 and 11, on May 9, which the police have not yet answered.
The letter referred to a period when the trucks left, due to pressure from law enforcement, but the trucks are back.
“It’s disgusting,” Edna Harris, Bob Harris’s wife added. “The police say ‘Don’t worry, they pay one flat ticket.’ How come I don’t get one flat ticket? If they need a place to park, they should pay for it.”
She noted that several companies pay to park vehicles in the Fresh Meadows parking lot on 188th Street and Horace Harding Expressway.
“Maybe the summonses are not enough,” said Marie Adam-Ovide, the district manager of CB 8. “I think we need legislation to increase the fines so that they don’t do this. They probably figure it’s worthwhile for them, money-wise, to disobey the law.”
Weprin said that he is discussing legislation to ban parking commercial vehicles alongside public parkland.
As for the auto-transport trucks, which are often laden with cars, Weprin said, “I wish I could just get them down and give them out to people.”