The Department of Transportation has quietly rolled out signage for a “terrifying” pick-up truck sharing program on the Upper East Side which was unanimously rejected by Community Board 8 last fall over concerns about the dangers of putting inexperienced drivers behind the wheels of hulking pickup trucks on UES streets.
In a 43-to-zero vote last November, Community Board 8 rejected the plan proposed by the DOT and truck-share company Truqit to park four used Toyota Tacomas in two Upper East Side locations that would be available to rent by the hour without any prior training.
During CB8’s discussion on the truck-share last fall, Maggie Lehman, a member of the public, called the idea “nothing short of terrifying.”
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“The notion that anyone by simply getting on your platform can go and rent a truck for two hours not having learned how to drive a truck, not understanding the difference between driving a car and a truck, seems to me to be the epitome of recklessness,” Lehman said at the time.
Community Board resolutions are not binding and only serve as recommendations to City agencies, which can simply be ignored when they aren’t in line with an agency’s plans.
So, despite that strong opposition, DOT crews went ahead and installed new signs this weekend warning drivers that two parking spaces on the north side of East 90th Street near Second Avenue are off-limits to regular drivers. They’re now reserved exclusively for Truqit — a company that pays New York City just $237.50 annually for each prime parking spots, a paltry amount that drew outrage last fall.
“These are well-funded companies,” explained Brandon Carly, a concerned Upper East Side resident, “I’m not saying we should stick it to them, but they can clearly afford to pay market rates and this is a subsidy and a giveaway of public resources.”
It’s not clear whether the pick-up trucks will be owned by Truqit or private individuals. In San Francisco, where the company currently operates, the site only aggregates listings for 10-year-old Toyota Tacomas — stored in driveways, parking lots and garages — from other peer-to-peer car-share companies like Getaround.
Back here on the UES, the new truck-share signage was installed over the weekend while cars were already parked in those locations, putting the drivers at getting a risk of receiving a ticket without warning.
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Upper East Site spotted one car parked all weekend that had luckily not yet received a ticket by 9:00 am Monday morning.
Even if the driver did find the dreaded orange envelope under their windshield wiper, the DOT says there is a grace period for drivers caught off guard by signage changes. Anyone ticketed within five days of new signage installations can use that change as a defense to contest their summons because they were following the prior regulations, the agency says.
As for why DOT decided to ignore the wishes of the community and install these truck-sharing spaces, the agency simply told Upper East Site that they decided to move ahead with the location and will monitor it going forward.
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This story amuses me. Since U-Haul has been renting trucks in the city for years on 102nd and Lexington. Also, several of the car rental companies on the UES rent pickup trucks already. I can say some of the U-Haul trucks are much scarier to drive than a pickup. Seems like the only real issue is the great rate they are receiving on parking. Who wouldn’t want a guaranteed spot for ~$240 a year on the UES.