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Brooklyn's big rig problem

Ditmas Park residents say truck drivers are using their streets illegally

Brooklyn Daily

Big rig drivers love to keep on truckin’ — right through two bucolic Flatbush neighborhoods.

Residents of Ditmas Park and Prospect Park South claim that trucks rolling through Southern Brooklyn ignore posted truck routes — and their illegal detours are disrupting the peace on their blocks.

“Container truck after container truck clogs up traffic on Caton Avenue, adding to our poor air quality and completely backing up traffic,” said Eva Lewandowski, who lives off of Church Avenue. “I struggle to get my kids across the street when these trucks come by and, when it’s late and there is little traffic, the semis fly down Church Avenue, rattling the windows of my house.”

The Department of Transportation’s truck routes avoid Caton Road completely and turn off Church Avenue at Flatbush Avenue if they are not delivering locally — but residents say trucks routinely thumb their nose at the rules.

Wayward truckers particularly love a stretch of Church Avenue between Flatbush and Bedford avenues, residents claim, fearing that the problem will worsen with the unveiling of the Barclays Center in Fort Greene.

“There is about to be a lot more traffic Downtown with the Nets, and more trucks will break the law and come this way,” said Nathan Thompson, Lewandoski’s husband.

Attempts to reach the trucking companies spotted rolling down Caton Avenue was unsuccessful by Monday evening.

The Department of Transportation referred all questions about truck route enforcement to the NYPD, which did return our calls.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow his Tweets at @from_where_isit.

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Reader Feedback

PPS Neighbor from Prospect Park South says:
Don't forget about Beverley Rd. There are signs for "local deliveries only" too, but I guarantee you all the dump trucks, cement trucks and tow trucks are not all doing business in our neighborhood - especially at 9PM.
June 20, 2012, 8:51 am
James from Prospect Park South says:
Fact: Lots of large trucks trundle down Church Avenue at all hours of the day and night spewing diesel fumes and making the earth shake under their girth. Sometimes they are traveling at very high speeds.

Opinion: You gotta love it when they engine brake.
June 21, 2012, 10:13 pm
Brenda from Flatbush from Caton Park says:
Caton Avenue is apparently the crucial de-facto route for semis, big rigs and long-distance haulers traveling between the mainland U.S. and Montauk, Long Island, to judge from the ETERNAL conga line of giant trucks booming east- and west-bound at all hours. We especially love it, as residents a few houses from Caton Avenue, when the haulers hit a pothole, the rig goes airborne at 40mph, and then returns to earth, because it's good for the whole house to shake at least once a day. We call this phenomenon "Trucks from Space," since it sounds and feels as if they are being thrown from above like thunderbolts from Zeus. It is frankly hilarious to think that Caton is not supposed to be a truck route...perhaps the traffic enforcement elves could take a break from monetizing Muni-Meter infractions in Park Slope and come on over for some ticketing fun...
June 21, 2012, 11:45 pm
Bob from Prospect Park South says:
So many large trucks roar down Church Avenue at all hours of the night, bouncing into pot holes, down-shifting and screeching their air-brakes at the lights that like my neighbor above, our whole house shakes. Church is a commercial road, and I dream of the day when restaurants and bars and coffee shops might open up like down on Cortelyou and act as a bridge between PPS and Caton Park families, but the amount of heavy truck traffic blasting down the road turns Church into a DMZ and makes that dream unrealistic.
June 22, 2012, 9:23 am
Eva from Prospect Park South says:
I want to confirm that we are not against local deliveries servicing our local businesses. We are against trucks who are only passing through Brooklyn using Church Avenue or Caton Avenue as a highway to beat the BQE and Atlantic Avenue. And when Church and Caton are "parking lots" clogged up with trucks from Elizabeth NJ or Freeport Long Island, local traffic takes over other streets such as Beverly and Foster making it hard for anyone to get around including bikes, kids, pedestrians. Help?
June 25, 2012, 12:09 pm
Jennifer from PPS says:
Caton Avenue is part of Route 27 which does connect NJ, Staten Island and Long Island (I-278 to Fort Hamilton to Caton to Linden to the Belt Pkway frontage to Sunrise Hwy.) so even though I would love to have much less truck traffic on Caton I don't think it is ever going to be big rig free.
June 25, 2012, 7:20 pm
Chris from between Caton and Church says:
The trucks are indeed an enormous problem on both Caton and Church avenues, and it is no fun living between the streets and having to deal with the rigs daily -- the noise, the pollution, the way they clog traffic. Eastbound traffic always seems particularly bad on both streets. Perhaps the neighborhood clamor will have some result this time.
June 26, 2012, 8:48 am
Eva from Prospect Park South says:
Hey Jennifer: I understand that Caton is part of Route 27 but there are very specific rules on where trucks can and cannot drive. If you look at the DOT website for assigned truck routes which trucking companies must legally follow in designing their truck routes and in keeping daily logs which must be submitted when stopped by truck enforcement, Route 27 is designated as a "local deliveries only" truck route not a through route for trucks who do not have deliveries or pick ups in the borough of Brooklyn. Trucks who use Route 27 as a through route to get from NJ to points north, to JFK, to Long Island, etc. are expected to use legal truck routes for thru truck traffic, not local truck routes. Maybe I am missing something that you can clarify.
Thanks. Eva
June 26, 2012, 11:53 am
Eva from PPS says:
Hey: So sorry my sentences run on. Thanks for engaging in a dialogue.
June 26, 2012, 3:31 pm
Phil from Kensington says:
Maybe if they charged tolls both ways on the Verazanno there will be fewer trucks. Now they get a free ride into Brooklyn and because BQE is always a mess they go thru the neighborhoods. Really it's bad all over.
June 27, 2012, 6:26 am
Tom from PPS says:
The truck traffic on Caton is as bad as ever, and there is never any enforcement in evidence.

Screw it, I'm moving as soon as I can.
June 19, 9:16 pm

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