Trucks backing up onto a small residential street in Fields Corner have drawn the ire of local residents, who have taken their complaints of traffic congestion to City Hall.
Fred Zayas, who lives on Faulkner Street, has been leading the charge, pushing city officials to ban the trucks from the beleaguered street, which has a loading dock along with a number of homes dominated by apartments. The dock is in back of a mini-mall that houses a supermarket, a liquor store, and a McDonald’s and other retailers is located between Geneva and Dorchester avenues.
Faulkner Street doesn’t just get hit with truck traffic, residents say; the street is frequently used as a cut-through, and by people who are dropping off passengers at the Fields Corner MBTA station, which is nearby. The Harbor Middle School, located on Charles Street, is also a source of traffic.
But the main frustration for residents remains the trucks. Drivers have to take a turn onto Freeman Street and then onto Charles Street to get out of the area, and their trailers often have trouble making the turn, according to Barry Mullen, head of the Fields Corner Neighborhood Council. The trucks sometimes park on the sidewalk or the middle of the street, despite a ban on 2.5 ton vehicles evident by a sign on Faulkner Street. The number of trucks often causes a “small traffic jam,” Mullen said. “Why they’re allowing 40-foot trailers to make that turn, it makes no sense,” he added.
Sometimes, the trucks appear to be five feet from residents’ windows, and they idle as they wait their turn, Mullen said. “In the summer time it’s brutal, they just run their trucks constantly.”
Residents met with city officials over the summer and submitted a petition detailing their problems with the trucks, but Zayas said last week that he is frustrated that there hasn’t been more movement on the issue. The petition also raised health concerns, arguing that the trucks spewed out fumes on a daily basis. “We have to close our doors and windows every time these semi-trailer trucks arrive to unload their products,” they wrote. “Very seldom do these trucks shut off their engines in the course of making deliveries. We are also exposed to diesel exhaust fumes from the Fields Corner train [station’s] fleet of buses parked less than 100 feet away from our properties as well.” The trucks have also caused property damage to street lights, legally parked cars and private driveways, the petition says.
Residents had initially hoped to get deliveries to start in the front of the mini-mall, but that isn’t doable – the front lines of the stores double as a fire lane. Another option, residents say, could be another loading dock located on Geneva Avenue. But because the loading dock doesn’t go all the way through the building, the liquor store that receives the deliveries can’t use it.
Faulkner Street residents have grown impatient, and earlier this month forwarded to the Reporter e-mail exchanges with city officials and photos of the trucks from the summer.
Chris English, a liaison for Dorchester in the Office of Neighborhood Services who has shifted over to intergovernmental affairs, worked on the truck issue while in the services post. English said the city has installed new signage to prevent trucks from hopping onto the Faulkner Street’s sidewalk, adding that the city can’t require the deliveries to go anywhere else.
The owner of the mall and the Supreme Liquors store, Thomas Cifrino, has also been working to mitigate the issue and has reached out the mall’s vendors, English added. “We’re monitoring the parking violations; the parking enforcement officers are making continued rounds there and they’re ticketing when they see violations,” he said.