Bayonne has officially banned truck and tractor trailers exceeding 16,000 pounds from parking on city streets.
The City Council has adopted an ordinance amending the general revised ordinances pertaining to special regulations for trucks, truck tractors, trailers, and commercial vehicles. The amendment removes an exception.
Previously, “truck tractors, trailers, and vehicles exceeding 16,000 pounds, gross weight” were specifically permitted to park on certain streets after obtaining a yearly parking decal, which would be permanently affixed to the driver’s side door of the vehicle.
The decals were issued by the Director of Public Safety or his designee, and needed to be renewed on an annual basis. There were no fees for the decals for residents, but nonresidents needed to pay an annual fee of $500.
The roads that used to be included in the exception are both sides of: East 22nd Street, New Hook Road, Hook Road, Pier Street, Ingham Avenue, and Pulaski Street. These streets are located in industrial land use districts east of Route 440.
No more exceptions
At the August council meeting, officials discussed the ordinance further. Former city employee and outspoken resident Gail Godesky asked about the changes, prompting City Council President Gary La Pelusa to explain the gist of the ordinance.
“The exceptions used to be for vehicles exceeding 16,000 pounds,” La Pelusa said. “This is basically saying trucks, tractors, trailers, and commercial vehicles are excluded from parking there. We used to have locations, but now we’re basically saying they cannot park on the street.”
“We’re a blue collar town, where are they going to park?” Godesky said.
“I don’t know,” La Pelusa said.
Godesky again asked where the trucks were going to park instead, to which La Pelusa said that commercial businesses need to provide parking for trucks.
“Commercial vehicles have to have… a business has to have their own lot or their own space for parking,” La Pelusa said.
Following that, Godesky asked if this ordinance pertained to LeFante Way, which she described as a place where trucks parking on the street was a common thing.
“They pull on the side with the new road that we just paved and everything, these poor truck drivers are running around ragged delivering our goods and services,” Godesky said. “Now they’re not going to have a place to take a nap and then wind up getting into an accident on Route 440 like the other day.”
Targeting blue collar workers?
City Clerk Madeline Medina noted this actually pertained to East 22nd Street, to which Godesky stood by her point.
“They’re not bothering anybody,” Godesky said. “They need to rest before delivering goods and services. We have to think outside the box what’s good for the city. We’re getting more Amazon trucks, UPS trucks, this truck, that truck. We’re making it convenient to them to travel for them in and out. But these poor truck drivers, these blue collar workers that are trying to make a buck, you’re telling them they’ve got to go pay rent someplace to park to sleep for an hour? Come on guys.”
La Pelusa said that if Walmart trucks are coming in to Bayonne, they can park in the Walmart parking lot. In response, Godesky said that the trucks that are parking on the streets belong to local and small businesses, not big name brands.
“Take a ride down East 22nd Street and see who’s parking there,” Godesky said. “It’s the blue collar guys that need to take a nap or have something to eat. I hope you vote this down.”
Second Ward City Councilwoman Jacqueline Weimmer explained that the ordinance was not targeting truck drivers looking to take a rest.
“[Public Works] Director [Tom] Cotter found that a lot of the businesses in that area were using the sides of those roads really for extra parking,” Weimmer said. “It was not truck drivers that needed area to rest, but rather it was the businesses in the area just parking their vehicles. They are using it almost like a storage box.”
Godesky refuted Weimmer’s explanation: “That’s not true. Royal Wine let’s these trucks there and IMTT… If you take a ride down, you’ll see it’s the everyday blue collar worker that’s trying to make a buck and save on gas.”
Enforcing existing ordinances
After Godesky, another resident took the podium to raise issues regarding enforcement of the ban on heavy truck parking elsewhere in the city.
“We have a gentleman that works a commercial business out of ten garages and the basement of a two-family home on 48th Street,” Tom Solari said. “He gets tractor trailers every day, from four thirty, quarter to five, to seven o’clock in the morning.”
As a result of the over-16,000-pound truck traffic, the side street that is 48th Street is in poor condition.
“48th Street has potholes, looks like Iraq,” Solari said. “The streets are falling apart. We’re repaving them, but we’re still getting tractor trailers down there… He’s been there ever since I was a kid and I’m 58 years old.”
Solari said that one night, there were multiple heavy tractor trailers waiting for the business on Avenue C. He said that he reminded the drivers of the city ordinance which limits idling in the street three minutes, to which they said that they needed to wait for their delivery.
After hearing Solari’s experience, La Pelusa said that a couple local businesses contacted him about the problem. He said enforcement means catching the violator in the act, which is not easy.
“The police go down there, but he doesn’t have a tractor trailer every day,” La Pelusa. “So the times they went there, he had a straight job… Three different times we had the police look into this, and each time they were not able to catch them with the tractor trailer… It’s an issue, and going down that block… it’s very tight… and they’re getting very close”
Solari said the tractor trailers driving and idling on 48th Street were wrong, considering there is an ordinance previously banning heavy trucks on side streets in addition to this new ordinance.
La Pelusa said he would speak with Solari further after the meeting, then asked officials from the Police Department could investigate the matter, and advised residents to call the police to report violations.
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