Once upon a time, the LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan) stated that "the City supports" the use of the causeway for moving gravel to the dock. In the most recent revision of the LWRP, that language has been tempered by the phrase "as a temporary measure." No matter what the final language in the LWRP, it seems the City's support for routing trucks through South Bay is about to rise to the level of law.
Last night at the informal Common Council meeting, Council President Don Moore revisited an idea suggested by City Attorney Jack Connor at the Legal Committee meeting on July 27: passing a law that would require O&G to route their trucks through South Bay. Moore introduced the topic of legislating heavy industrial traffic into South Bay by saying, "It's going to be a while before we get to it [the LWRP], but we now have an opportunity to do something about trucks." Reminding the Council that the loaded gravel trucks heading for the dock now travel through South Bay but trucks leaving the dock empty continue to travel on city streets, Moore said, "We can relatively quickly address the issue of getting trucks off the streets . . . [by drafting] a local law to prohibit [gravel] trucks going through the city."
When an alderman raised the issue of the "road" on the old rail bed being only wide enough for one vehicle, Moore acknowledged that "they're going to have to do some staging" and offered the opinion that "there is plenty of room to stage," adding, "That's why God created cell phones."
There may be more problems with this quick solution than Moore anticipates. When Holcim/O&G were proposing the direct route from the quarry to the dock, which crossed Route 9 and passed through the wetlands in Greenport between Routes 9 and 9G before crossing 9G and entering South Bay, the Department of Transportation was involved, because the trucks would be crossing two state highways. In discussions about legislating trucks to use South Bay, however, there has been no mention of DOT. Wouldn't having a regular parade of giant gravel trucks slowing down to make the turn into South Bay and pulling out from South Bay and entering traffic have as great an impact on traffic flow on a state highway as having the trucks cross the road?
Another problem with this quick solution is the whole issue of segmentation. When a project impacts two municipalities, a lead agency must be determined and there needs to be a coordinated review of the project by the two municipalities so that approval by one municipality does not put unfair pressure on the other municipality to acquiesce. In October 2009, Cheryl Roberts, attorney for the City of Hudson, sent a letter to Ken Faroni at O&G warning that "seeking approval from the Town of Greenport Planning Board in advance of a declaration of lead agency and undertaking a coordinated review . . . amounts to segmentation in violation of 6 NYCRR 617.3(g)." Wouldn't it also be segmentation for the City of Hudson to pass a law requiring Holcim/O&G to do what is essentially the Hudson part of their proposal?
Moore and Connor talk about getting gravel trucks off the city streets, but unless the law they are proposing forces the trucks to by-pass Hudson altogether, circling around by way of 23B, 9H, 9, and 23 to approach the city from the south on 9G before making the turn into South Bay, we're still going to have gravel trucks rumbling through the city--passing houses and businesses on Green Street (and passing over those water mains that seem to cause DPW so many problems), passing a radio studio, a recording studio, music and arts venues, a county office building, houses, and businesses on Columbia Street en route to Third, crossing Warren Street at a major gateway intersection, and passing businesses and the Youth Center (and the future Senior Center) on Third Street on the way to South Bay. The quick solution is only a partial solution. Gravel trucks will be eliminated only from the three blocks of Columbia Street below Third and from Front Street between Columbia and Broad streets.