Crowd Sourcing: Trucks wreaking havoc downtown

C. and P. have been documenting the increasing problem of too-long (by city law) tractor trailers jamming up – and outright trashing – downtown streets, especially in the narrowest parts of the city. This is just one example that they caught on camera, but the local crossing guard said it happens frequently. Comment here if you have your own evidence.

In this case, the truck plowed through the intersection of William and Beekman last month, requiring the assistance of a parking garage attendant, firefighters and the Spruce Street School crossing guard – all during drop off hours at Spruce and the Blue School. In the end, NYPD traffic officers were called in to block traffic so the truck could back up down William then drive the wrong way down a one-way street to escape the area. In the process it took out a curb and rattled a street tree.

A truck of that length violates a city traffic rule (NYC Traffic Rule 4-15(j) to be precise) stating that bumper to bumper, the vehicle has to be under 55 feet. Yet traffic cops can’t issue moving violations, so the truck just drove off.

“How many tax dollars are utilized to repair broken sidewalks, streetlights, uprooted trees?” asked C. “And how do we keep these trucks from entering our neighborhood!?”

I don’t have the answers but agree that it’s time the city found some.




  1. There’s also the common problem of trucks using sidewalks as a parking-shortcut. That is, instead of backing into a parallel parking spot, they drive up on and off the sidewalk. A lot of sidewalks get damaged this way. Sometimes they even collapse.

    Not sure what the solution is. Industrial-strength planters? Anyone know the regulations on such planters?

  2. The City does not pay to fix sidewalks, but the owners of the building when they need to repair the damaged vault underneath the sidewalk when delivery trucks use the sidewalks for free parking. Increased City enforcement is needed here.

  3. This is what can happen:

    More typical is that the truck just drives partly onto the sidewalk for ease of parking, so two wheels on the sidewalk. That’s still about half the weight of the truck applying force where it should not. Even if this is just momentary, it puts serious stress on the stones or concrete of the sidewalk, plus whatever understructure is there, especially in a hollow vault situation. A lot of buildings have hollow vaults there for mechanical equipment. As this article shows it can cost upwards of $100k to rebuild a damaged sidewalk vault.

  4. the solution is simple. get police out there with their Ticket book.

  5. Prior to 9/11 all weekend non-emergency construction on buidlings was barred. And huge trucks had to wait until midnight to come into the city – what happened?
    I mean these trucks do have to come in to the city and getting the police to ticket them isn’t the answer. It worked before so let’s put the midnight restriction back.
    It is bad enough they took a massive graveyard and Disneyifed the former WTC site but these lax rules seem to now apply to all developers.

  6. Why aren’t they concerned about the tour buses as well? I’ve seen tour buses stuck while trying to make turns from West Street onto Carlisle, and at Carlisle/Greenwich, blocking traffic until they figured out what to do (I didn’t stick around to see what happened, but there’s been damage to signs along there).

    • Agreed with Hudson River. I have seen Chinese intercity buses going down Leonard to cut the Canal St traffic. The street has a construction site and makes it really narrow. I don’t see safe with these big buses on narrow streets.

  7. This morning I found 3 wedding/engagement rings near the swings by the splash park. Left a note with my phone number but no call. Dropping rings at NYPD 1st Precinct by Franklin St Station Tribecca

    • Hi Terry! I am looking for these rings — have you dropped them off by the 1st Precinct just yet?

      Thank you!!

    • Hi Terry,
      we are looking for the rings, they never turned up at the 1st. Can you contact our office? 646 610-6700