Judy Cartwright writes the Community Watchdog column
Here's a practice that adds one more complication to the daily ritual of getting from here to there safely:
Trucks parked next to "No Parking" signs near delis and convenience stores.
Readers have reported concerns about two locations where trucks are left in the forbidden zones when drivers stop for coffee or lunch. Passing cars must swerve into the center turn lane to pass, and the trucks block the view of drivers entering from side roads.
First up, the eastbound LIE service road at Exit 46 in Plainview: A 7-Eleven sits around the corner of the service road, on Sunnyside Boulevard. The store does not have an entrance on the service road — the parking lot opening is on Sunnyside — but there is a paver stone walkway between the store and the service road.
Though several "No Stopping Any Time" signs are conspicuous, "on any given morning, truckers stop in full view of the 'No Stopping' signs to go to the 7-Eleven," Stephen Rothmaler of Wantagh wrote in an email.
That's where the right lane changes into a turn lane, which winds up blocked "at all hours of the day, especially during the morning rush," Rothmaler wrote. As a result, drivers often can't make the turn, he said, and straight-ahead traffic must swerve around the rigs. When we visited, a parked truck blocked the view of drivers leaving the assisted living facility next door.
"The situation doesn't need a 'fix' other than to have some enforcement of the existing 'No Stopping' signs so that traffic can pass efficiently and safely as intended," Rothmaler wrote.
Another reader took a different tack: "In granting 7-Eleven the opportunity to operate on this lucrative piece of real estate, they ought to have required them to widen the shoulder or provide some means of giving truckers a reasonable pull-off area," Brian Daskam of Farmingdale wrote in an email. "They" would be Oyster Bay Town, which approved the site plan for the convenience store.
Here's what we learned when we asked if requiring a change in the approved site plan is a possibility: The town's Planning and Development Department, which signed off on the 7-Eleven application, cannot mandate a change because vehicles are parking illegally.
"It's not in our jurisdiction," town spokeswoman Marta Kane said. "It's clearly an enforcement issue."
Nassau County police told us they are aware of the problem. "When violations are seen, summonses are issued," Det. Vincent Garcia said.
Now, for the second site: Walt Whitman Road in Melville, an area of residential communities and office buildings — and delis, that feed not only the working population, but also truck drivers on that route. Near one, Deli Worx, neighbors have asked Huntington Town to take action to prevent trucks from parking along the off-limits stretch.
We asked the about potential solutions, such as closing the road to trucks. Again, we were told the issue is traffic enforcement. Suffolk police told us they "are monitoring the location and will take appropriate enforcement action."
"I'm not trying to make it where somebody can't get a cup of coffee," Rothmaler said when we spoke. But, he pointed out, the "No Parking" signs are there for a reason.
The recent reconstruction project on Pulaski Road from East Northport to Kings Park prompted concerns about the disappearance of on-street parking and the arrival of trees.
The parking issue was resolved quickly: On-street parking that vanished near Main Street/Route 25A in Kings Park returned, to the relief of residents and shopkeepers, when roadwork on that section was completed. "The area depends on streetside parking," resident George Bernzweig told us, noting that he had considered taking his Sunday morning bagel routine elsewhere.
As for trees:
William McGeever of Kings Park reported that the new trees have a nice look, but "at least half of the trees are being planted directly under the utility wire . . .
"Why are the taxpayers paying to plant trees under the utility wires and then, through our utility rates, going to have to pay to trim (more like hack into an eyesore) these same trees as they grow into the wires above?" he asked in an email. He called for relocating the trees away from the overhead lines.
Suffolk County said the trees were chosen from a list of varieties considered suitable near utility lines. They are pear trees, specifically the Cleveland select cultivar of Callery pear.
The county expects the trees are to behave accordingly.