Even as NYCDOT’s Office of Freight Mobility continues to stall on implementation of strategies to reduce the impact of city truck traffic, the number of trucks entering the city is growing, and at a much faster rate than overall traffic, according to NYMTC’s annual Truck Toll Volume Trends.
Annual truck traffic on major tolled East River crossings (the Queens Midtown and Brooklyn Battery tunnels, and the Triboro, Bronx Whitestone, and Throgs Neck bridges) grew 2.7 percent from 2006 to 2007. Over the same period, total truck traffic on the George Washington Bridge grew by 0.5 percent, and by 4.1 percent in the Lincoln Tunnel.
In the same period, average daily vehicular weekday traffic on tolled East River crossings grew by only 0.6 percent, while traffic on the GW Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel actually fell by 0.8 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. (NYMTC uses average weekday volume to measure total traffic, but annual counts to measure truck traffic.)
The rise in truck traffic is unwelcome news for NYC residents battling truck violations in their neighborhoods. Throughout the boroughs, community groups are fighting off-route violations, oversized and overweight trucks, illegal parking and resting, and incessant idling in violation of NYC’s poorly enforced 3-minute idling rule.
The continued growth in truck traffic should be a strong incentive for the NYCDOT’s Office of Freight Mobility to put in place recommendations developed for its 2007 Truck Route Management and Community Impact Reduction Study. But despite repeated requests, the Tri-State Campaign hasn’t heard anything from the office since the March 2007 release of its Implementation Update Report.
In the meantime, it’s up to local advocates, citizens, and elected officials to raise public awareness of the problems caused by truck violations (such as incessant idling or oversized vehicles on residential streets) and catalyze community action on the issue. Last Friday City Councilmember Diana Reyna, whose district encompasses Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a neighborhood battling disproportionately high asthma rates, teamed up with the 90th Police Precinct to ramp up police enforcement of truck violations. In just a few hours, 22 truck stops were made and 48 summonses were issued for various truck violations. The 90th Precinct has agreed to work regularly with the Councilmember to address truck concerns.