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Residents Blame GPS For Trucks Damaging Property On Lawrenceville's Narrow Streets

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- GPS makes getting around a lot easier for most of us.

But some people in Lawrenceville say it's created a problem in their neighborhood that's led to cars and businesses being damaged.

In fact, people there say it happens all the time: big trucks getting stuck as they turn down narrow streets.

"It's really a worry when they hit the pole," said Deborah Hosking who lives near one of the problem intersections. She's taken pictures of some of parked cars crunched by tractor trailer rigs that turn off Butler Street on to 35th Street.

"It's just a matter of time before someone gets really hurt," said Hosking. "When you see how crunched some of these cars get, I mean, what if somebody left a dog or somebody's in there texting?"

Randy Kovitz points out a utility pole that's clearly taken a beating, with the wood on the side facing the street shaved away.

"It's been hit so many times now that it's now deteriorated," said Kovitz.

He's also seen vehicle damage, including his own car.

"We've had a mirror knocked off. We've been sideswiped, completely sideswiped, been rear-ended by another car that was hit by a truck that slipped on the ice."

Domenic Branduzzi, the owner of the popular Piccolo Forno restaurant, says they have the same problem on 38th Street.

He points to marks on the corner of the building, and that's not all, the restaurant's sign had to be taken down after it was destroyed by a truck smashing into it.

"Super frustrating," said Branduzzi. "It's always a matter of getting that call, 'Hey, another truck hit the building.'"

City Councilwoman Deb Gross says she's working on a solution. A written statement from her office reads in part: "Just yesterday, the conversation continued at a neighborhood public safety meeting. Signs have been posted. We need to make sure drivers are aware of the appropriate routes."

But neighbors tell KDKA's David Highfield that truckers following GPS seem to ignore the signs or believe it's okay because they're going to a local business.

"The drivers when I try to talk to them and tell them to take another route, they say this is how their GPS has told them to go," said Branduzzi.

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While there are GPS systems specific for truck drivers, which direct them to use truck routes, not all truckers have them.

On 35th Street, neighbors say many of the trucks there are headed to a business called Restaurant Depot.

The business has a sign at its entrance instructing semis to use a different street, but drivers don't see that sign until they've already driven down this street.

A Restaurant Depot manager told KDKA that he wasn't aware of this issue but that he'll talk to his superiors about it.


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