No-idling rule at Hunts Point effective Nov. 1

| Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Effective Nov. 1, New York City will begin enforcement of the city’s anti-idling regulation, a rule that promises to inflict some discomfort on truckers doing business at the enormous market in The Bronx known as Hunts Point.

Market management says they are not rejoicing over it either, but it’s the law.

“We are required to enforce it,” says Hunts Point Produce General Manager George Maroulis.

Maroulis says when a driver enters the market, there is an area to park and that area will  have new signage.

“Signs will tell you to shut your engine off,” he says. “The limit is three minutes.”

Maroulis says the three-minute limit is a New York City law. New York state law is a bit more lenient, with a five-minute limit.

“If you are parked, the engine needs to be shut off,” he says. “If you’re idling while you are in traffic, in a moving line to load or unload, that will not get you a fine.”

Maroulis says the only exemption for idling when you are parked is when the temperature is below 25 degrees.

“Then you can run the engine for heat,” he says. Maroulis says there are no exceptions “on the high end” meaning no provision was specified to allow for the use of air conditioning in hot weather.

Alternatives? Maroulis says there’s not many. He says at the Meat Market, which is across the street from the Produce Market, there’s 28 spaces equipped with Idle Aire (shore power). The Produce Market has no shore power now, but it has commissioned a feasibility study.

“Other than Mike’s Restaurant, which is open 24 hours a day,” says Maroulis, “there’s not much else for truckers. It’s a shame.”

Maroulis says Hunts Point has issued warnings since July, so as of Nov. 1, there will be no fix-it tickets.

“If a trucker refuses to shut his engine off, by law we have to issue the violation. The fine structure ranges from $250 up to $10,000,” he says. “If you get a violation, you’ll then need to appear before a judge, somewhat similar to a traffic court summons.”

Maroulis says while $250 is likely the fine for a first-time offender, he’s not certain what type of offense would trigger an extreme fine?

“Again, we need truckers here at Hunts Point. The law has made us responsible, so we are looking to make it work,” he says, “not just to throw a fine out there.”

--by Sandi Soendker, managing editor

Sandi Soendker can be reached at ooida@aol.com.

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