BROOKLYN WEEKLY, MARCH 8, 2020
SCALES OF JUSTICE
City weighs automatic heavy truck enforcement on the BQE
BY KEVIN DUGGAN
They’re looking to tip the scales in the city’s favor!
The city wants to install automatic weight monitors along
the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to help highway patrol
catch truckers hauling overweight loads down the aging interstate,
most of whom get away with their outlaw behavior
due to the cops’ low-tech surveillance equipment — their eyeballs,
according to the city’s chief highway cop.
“We are touching just the tip of it,” said Inspector Steven
D’Ulisse, commanding offi cer of the NYPD Highway District
at a City Hall hearing about the BQE.
Police have issued 97 weight-related summonses for
trucks and have taken 23 of those vehicles out of service
along the BQE since Mayor Bill de Blasio issued an executive
order for the Boys in Blue to up enforcement of the heavy rigs
along the roadway on Feb. 3.
But offi cers are forced to rely largely on their intuition
to pick out offenders — essentially pulling over drivers
they suspect may be overweight, and then measuring their
loads using mobile scales — and offi cials at the Department
of Transportation want to partner with their state counterparts
to install automatic sensors along the aging roadway,
which would help capture offenders who slip past highway
patrol, according to offi cials.
The new sensors — known as weigh-in-motion or WIM
— are capable of automatically detecting an overweight
load, while also capturing license plates and US Department
of Transportation registration numbers, which are
fed in near real-time to police, much like speed and red light
cameras, according to D’Ulisse.
“That’s key to get every single truck that’s overweight automatically,
almost like a red light summons or a speed camera
summons,” he said.
De Blasio’s directive to increase truck enforcement followed
the release of a report by an expert panel he convened
to study the roadway, which found that the crumbling triple
cantilever section between Atlantic Avenue and Sands
Street could become unsafe to travel on within the next fi ve
The panel also recommended reducing the highway’s
lanes from three in each direction to two, but de Blasio has so
far been skeptical of that proposal.
The panel found that out of the 15,000 trucks that traverse
freeway every day, a small fraction of overweight freight carriers
were causing disproportionate damage to the structure.
Trucks are limited to a maximum of 80,000 pounds, or 40
tons, along the BQE, but some sensors the panel used while
studying the roadway found that some trucks were loading
as much as 170,000 pounds!
Trucks can also violate the law if they carry less than
80,000 pounds on smaller vehicle, which results in more pressure
being applied to the road surface, D’Ulisse noted.
Before the offi cials can start installing the sensors, the
city will need approval from the state’s Department of Transportation,
whose spokesperson did not immediately respond
to a request for comment.
BY BILL ROUNDY
The classic spot is back!
Brooklyn’s most beloved 19th century chophouse
will return March 15! Gage & Tollner,
which closed in 2004 after 125 years serving oysters
and steaks to Kings County’s ritziest residents,
will open again as a restaurant on March
15. At a preview event on Sunday for friends and
investors, one co-owner said that it was joy to see
the upscale eatery buzzing again.
“It’s amazing — it’s just so wonderful to have
people here, and having great conversation and
eating and drinking,” said Ben Schneider.
Schneider, with co-owners Sohui Kim and St.
John Frizell, fi rst toured the historic space while
it sat empty almost three years ago. In the years
since Gage & Tollner shuttered, it had housed a
TGI Fridays, the fast-food joint Arby’s, and a costume
jewelry store. Despite the many tenants, the
19th-century cherry-wood paneling, mirrors, and
brass chandeliers remained intact, because the
interior was declared a city landmark in 1975.
Today, leather and red velvet couches create
booths beside each arched mirror in the long
dining room, and brass coatracks sprout from
silk wall coverings, which are so gorgeous that
it seems a shame to cover them with a jacket.
Choosing that perfect fl oral pattern, embroidered
with gold thread on black silk, took “months and
months and months and months,” said Frizell, but
they fi nally settled on a pattern created by 19th
century design icon William Morris.
Historic Gage & Tollner returns
Photo by Bill Roundy Photo by Meg Capone