The state truck routes through Hudson were the subject of extensive discussion at the Common Council Economic Development Committee meeting last Thursday. Accepting that it will almost certainly not be possible to outlaw trucks passing through Hudson, the committee is looking for strategies to encourage them to avoid the city.
One of the strategies involves training and empowering Hudson police officers to enforce the rules and regulations that apply to trucks. Inspection stops for trucks are typically conducted by the state police, but there are only two units that do truck inspections throughout the entire state, so it's impossible for one of these units to spend enough time in Hudson to be an effective deterrent. As Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) pointed out, "Every one of these stops takes about an hour, so it might make truckers avoid Hudson."
Mayor Bill Hallenbeck, present in the audience, worried that this would be "profiling truckers." He asserted that "the majority of the time, you're going to see truckers are abiding by the rules." Friedman encouraged the mayor to think of the inspection stop as a speed trap, explaining that "truckers talk to each other" and the "potential inconvenience" would encourage truckers to avoid coming through Hudson. The mayor persisted in his objections, saying that "law-abiding truckers will be detained as well as offenders." The mayor's apparent support for truckers provoked Friedman to declare, "I wasn't elected to worry about the truckers. I was elected to work for the people of the Third Ward, and so were you."
Alderman Ohrine Stewart (Fourth Ward) questioned the premise that most truckers are law-abiding. Stewart, who lives on a truck route, as does Friedman, affirmed that there are problems with trucks exceeding the speed limit on Columbia Street and racing through yellow lights. Council president Don Moore commented that Hudson police officers will not pull trucks over for such violations "because the rules are different for trucks than for cars."
Throughout the discussion, Moore stressed that there is not a single solution to Hudson's truck problem. Other strategies being pursued have to do with altering navigation programs. It will be remembered that five or six years ago there were complaints about eighteen-wheelers barreling through the village of Kinderhook in the middle of the night. It was discovered that GPS was routing the trucks on Route 9, through the village, instead on Route 9H, which had been constructed on purpose to bypass the village.
The plan is to contact UPS and the big box stores and franchises who create their own navigation systems for their trucks and ask them to alter their routes so that trucks not making deliveries in Hudson bypass the city. GPS providers will also be contacted with a similar goal. Mentioned too was a plan to erect signs directing trucks to follow routes around Hudson.
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