Truckers who make
deliveries into New York City could face disruptions as the city prepares for
the Republican National Convention next week.
The convention is
scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in Madison Square Garden. Most sessions will run
from 8 to 11 p.m. EDT, but on Monday, Aug. 30, there will also be a session
from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. EDT. Other areas of the city, such as the Jacob
Javits Center, also have convention-related activities scheduled.
Similar to the Democratic
Convention in Boston, security at the Republican event and the area around it
will be tight. For example, anyone entering the area around the convention
center – from
Seventh Avenue to Ninth Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets – will be asked to
provide identification and their destination within the area near the
All trucks and vans that enter the area will be
subject to inspection at spots around the neighborhood, and some streets will
be off-limits for trucks and vans. New York officials recommend that truckers
carry some type of ID from their carriers if available.
drivers entering the area must posses a valid driver’s license, vehicle
registration and delivery manifest or invoice. Parking in the convention zone
will be prohibited except during designated delivery times.
In addition to the spot
inspections, vehicle checkpoints with active vehicle barriers will be
- West 31st, 32nd and 33rd Streets on the west
side of Sixth Avenue;
- West 31st and 33rd Streets on the east side of
- Seventh Avenue at West 34th Street and West
30th Street; and
- Eighth Avenue at West 34th Street and West 30th
In addition, a number of
streets will be closed:
31st to West 33rd streets from Sixth to Ninth
avenues will be closed to vehicle traffic.
32nd between Sixth and Seventh avenues will be closed to
vehicle traffic. It will become a pedestrian mall, providing access to
Penn Station up through Penn Station’s Seventh Avenue entrance under the
Madison Square Garden marquee.
Avenue will be closed from 42nd to 29th streets
during the 13 hours when the convention is in session. At other times, at
least one lane will be open in the Madison Square Garden area, and all
lanes will be open elsewhere.
Avenue will be closed during the convention hours from 23rd to
34th streets. Also, because 31st Street at Eighth
Avenue will be a designated protest area, additional lane or avenue closures
are likely south of that point at other times during the week.
New York Police Department, on its Web site, also lists a number of other truck
restrictions during the convention week:
- All trucks making deliveries
between West 29th Street and West 35th Street and between Sixth Avenue and
Ninth Avenue will have to be travel into the area during off-hours;
- On Monday, Aug. 30, all
vehicles will be required to leave the area by 4 a.m.; and
- From Tuesday, Aug. 31,
through Thursday, Sept. 2, delivery trucks may enter the convention zone only
between 2 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The protest area along
Eighth Avenue is expected to draw large numbers of demonstrators. New York
officials said in a release that the protest zone would be extended down the
street as far as necessary, depending upon the size of the crowd. That could
create additional traffic tie-ups.
However, everything is not
doom and gloom. In a news release, city officials pointed out that New York
City gets 100,000 visitors a day and in August, but that 150,000 fewer people
make the daily commute into the city during that month each year. About 50,000
delegates, officials, media representatives and guests are expected to take
part in the convention.
Officials describe many of
the security precautions as similar to those used on New Year’s Eve in Times
tightened security was expected. Earlier this year, officials at the
Transportation Security Administration asked OOIDA to alert truckers to be
extra watchful for possible terrorist activity during the months leading up to
Election Day. Several administration officials, including Homeland Security
Secretary Tom Ridge and Attorney General John Ashcroft, warned that terrorists
might attack sometime before the November election in an attempt to disrupt the
democratic process. Some reports pointed to the Democratic and Republican
conventions, or the election itself, as possible targets.
Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers
Association, said truckers should be “especially vigilant and aware of
should be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary – things that in a
trucker's experience look out of place or out of the routine – such as people
taking pictures of shipping and receiving facilities or ports.
especially diligent in terms of securing equipment, making certain that
equipment is not stolen or easy to steal,” Spencer said. “And be aware of when
equipment does come up missing, i.e. tanker trailers and things like that.”
more information about the Republican National Convention, truckers and others
can call (212) 239-4381, (212) 239-2344, (212) 239-9846 or 3-1-1 within New
York. Additional information is available at www.nyc2004.org.