Wayward delivery trucks are straying off course in Bensonhurst and neighborhood residents are scrambling to find the emergency brake.
“They just go down the streets blindly,” Adeline Michaels complained to the city Department of Transportation (DOT) and NYPD liaisons last week. “They’re renegades who ignore signs.”
Michaels wasn’t alone in her consternation. Other members of the Concerned Citizens of Bensonhurst gathered inside St. Finbar’s on Bay 20th Street expressed similar problems.
Lucile Santano of the 78th Street Block Association said that rumbling Beyer milk trucks barreling down her block are responsible for knocking out cable service and other damage.
“I was ready to jump in front of this truck [to try and stop it],” she said.
“This is how water lines are damaged,” Michaels added.
Another resident said that delivery men actually unload their trucks in his 19th Avenue driveway and then cart their goods to 86th Street.
Ronda J. Messer, director of Community Affairs with the Department of Transportation’s Brooklyn office, acknowledged that illegal truck traffic is a problem.
“We sympathize but we don’t have the ability to pull over trucks and give tickets,” she said.
The community affairs officer from the 62nd Precinct said that cops are out there and have been writing more summonses.
But an exasperated Michaels wondered aloud just how effective enforcement really is.
“Where are you guys when you know this is a troubled area?” she said.
The ongoing problem of truckers venturing beyond designated routes has some residents wishing there were more signs warning drivers that the side streets in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach are off limits to them.
Messer, however, said that it is just not feasible to put “negative” signage on every neighborhood block where commercial delivery trucks are prohibited.
Instead, she suggested that the increase in truck traffic might just be another hidden consequence of multi-family condominiums replacing traditional low-density homes.
More people moving into the neighborhood puts more pressure on merchants to keep their shelves stocked – that, in turn, means more deliveries and more trucks.
According to Messer, virtually all the goods delivered to market – over 80 percent – are trucked in.
High-tech traps that could automatically identify the weight of vehicles traveling over select roadways and catch truckers breaking the law might be employed sometime in the future.
DOT spokesperson Craig Chin later pointed out that it is permissible for delivery trucks to use non-designated truck routes in short spurts.
“Eventually, you have to come off a truck route,” he said. “But you’re not supposed to be zig-zagging back and forth.”
For now, Messer said that the DOT is in the process of producing precinct-specific truck route maps for police officers to carry so that they can better gauge if truckers are straying too far off designated routes.
“I think it will help the police out a lot,” she said.