Officials from the suburban New York City county of Westchester were scheduled to meet today with state officials and trucking representatives to discuss the problem of trucks striking overpasses on state parkways.
Parkways in the New York and many other places bar trucks from their routes. Not only that, overpasses on the parkways, often built with aesthetic reasons in mind as much as structural ones, generally are too low for a truck or bus to safely get under.
A recent rash of truck strikes on the Hutchinson River Parkway, which goes through Westchester and into Connecticut where it becomes the Merritt Parkway, led Westchester County Executive last month to let loose with a tweet.
"I've had enough of Trucks on the Hutch," County Executive George Latimer said on Twitter on June 1, using the local shorthand for the Hutchinson River Parkway. "We ain't doing enough to discourage and deter them."
He said he would be meeting with the New York State Department of Transportation and the Trucking Association of New York--the meeting that is taking place today "to beef up efforts - mandate Commercial GPS by all truckers - aggressively promote info to all truckers and companies the problem w NY Parkways clearance - far better, dramatic signage on the Hutch and key access roads."
In a story earlier this week on LoHud.com (LoHud for Lower Hudson), Latimer was quoted as citing some of those problems. Solutions that would be discussed at the meeting "include additional signs, more conspicuous signs and possibly more awareness spread to out-of-state drivers whose GPS systems don't recognize that trucks aren't supposed to be on these roads," according to the news story. He also said he wants to survey truck drivers on possible solutions to the problem.
To illustrate just how the confusion can play out in such a truck-bridge strike, consider this back-and-forth that was caught by WCBS television in reporting on a truck strike--by an Atlas Moving van--earlier this week.
The driver of the truck tried to hide his face on Monday as he blamed his partner, who was navigating on a smartphone instead of a commercial GPS. “He sent me down this road,” the driver exclaimed. “This was the result of him sending me down this road right here.” His partner deflected the blame back onto the driver.“He knows he made a mistake,” said Cardell Talton of Atlas Moving. “As a driver you go to school for stuff like this, you should know what signs to look for to know we shouldn’t be on this road.”
The problems of a GPS occasionally taking a driver down a wayward path isn't unique to no-trucks-allowed parkways. Earlier this month, a truck driver blamed his GPS system for leading him and his truck on to a sandy beach in North Carolina.
Phone calls to the Trucking Association of New York and the County Executive's office on today's meetings were not immediately returned.