Tarrytown, NY – “Trucks are hitting bridges on our parkways with increased regularity and New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) continues its failed efforts to warn truckers with road signs that the truckers don’t heed,” said Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant) today as he exasperatedly again called for the State DOT to put up height barriers at the entrances to state parkways in Westchester.
For the “umpteenth” time Abinanti again wrote to DOT Acting Commissioner Paul Karas after reports about two trucks slamming into the King Street Bridge on the Hutchinson River Parkway in the last several days.
Abinanti referenced a July 13, 2018 meeting in the County Executive’s office which was designed to develop a strategy to deal with the public safety concerns posed by oversized commercial vehicles accessing Westchester’s parkways and often striking low bridges over the parkways.
During the last several years, more than 900 large trucks have been recorded on Westchester’s parkways with more than 20 striking bridges each year. This year, it has been reported that there have been 42 bridge strikes in Westchester.
Assemblyman Abinanti has introduced two bills this session (A8008 and A10747) designed to keep trucks off of Westchester and all state parkways respectively. The legislation would require the State DOT to study parkway entrances and install physical height barriers at the entrances where trucks are most likely to enter the parkways.
Last year, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed a similar bill passed by the Legislature. In his veto message, the Governor argued that the DOT had conducted an assessment and was taking sufficient measures.
“Public officials in Westchester and beyond are frustrated by constantly hearing about bridge strikes by oversized commercial vehicles illegally accessing our parkways,” said Assemblyman Abinanti. “I’ve said it before, must we wait for someone to get really hurt or killed before the State takes common sense, effective action?”
Abinanti noted that similar height barriers are already used to keep large and heavy vehicles out of parking lots and other low-ceiling structures and many have been installed at roadways in the Boston area (screenshot attached, source: Google Earth street view of Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts).
“Trucks are illegal on parkways. They are a hazard not just to bridges but to passenger vehicles legally on the roads,” said Assemblyman Abinanti.