Monday, January 20, 2014

Managing What Can't Be Eliminated

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.


  1. Can't Hudson businesses using the objectionably-sized trucks on city streets set an example? What does Ginsberg's say? Town and Country? Van Kleek's? Harrington's? Talking time has long been over. It's time to do.

  2. Another problem I notice quite often with UPS and Fed Ex trucks is they just prefer to double park on Warren Street when they are right next to a parking spot they can fit in. It's time those companies should be told to talk to their drivers. Yes it will take another couple of minutes to make their delivery, but traffic will be able to move without having just the single lane.

  3. Thank you John Friedman.
    Elected officials working for the town.

  4. Asking the Greenport businesses to accommodate Hudson by changing their GPS routes is asking them to do for us what the surrounding communities have rejected.

    Instead, we can enjoy the rare luxury of knowing the precise moment we trashed our only chance to definitely effect a better outcome for Hudson: at the January 16, 2007 meeting of the Common Council.

    When the council was given the opportunity to pass a Resolution calling for a traffic study to be conducted under a SEQR review for Greenport's proposed shopping center, three aldermen proved themselves to be totally ignorant of the implications of the project and of the purpose of SEQR reviews.

    Here was the breakdown of the defeated Resolution:

    Ayes: President O’Brien, Aldermen Judd, Osterink, Sterling and Thurston. (908)

    Nays: Aldermen Donahue, Hughes and Shook. (556)

    [The bracketed number represents the weighted vote.]

    Because the 5th Ward is among the most harmed by the truck traffic, and because, thanks to the city's weighted vote the other wards so often feel they're harmed by representation in the 5th, perhaps residents of that long-bloated district will recall the following quotes every time they even think to complain about Hudson's truck problem:

    "Alderman Donahue stated the Council should not tell Greenport officials how to run their township. ...

    "Carmine Pierro, of Hudson, stated that with Lowe’s and Walmart opening up across the river 'I think you are going to see about a 30% drop in traffic out on Route 9'. He stated a lot of business on Route 9 was from across the river" [1/16/07 Common Council Minutes].

    Whenever Alderman Donahue and ex-Alderman Pierro come to mind, I recall their victorious arguments against the only sure way we had to influence the truck question beforehand. Theirs were the only substantial arguments on record against that Resolution, and both issued from the 5th Ward.

    So if the trucks are here to stay, then the 5th Ward owns this problem! Whether or not Pierro was their alderman yet, the 5th Ward married us to the trucks forever!

    Isn't it just stupefying then that the 5th Ward continues to re-elect Donahue with no concern for his serial short-sightedness; they'd likely have re-elected Pierro in November too, whether he lives in Hudson or not.

    Just unbelievable! What a stupid, stupid, stupid place.

    (Let's tell THAT to New York Times, ha ha.)

  5. Bravo, John Friedman, who nails a typically Republican "pro-business" response to the legitimate concerns of people who actually live and work in the community. The question is dead on: Who was the mayor elected to serve?

    1. Partisan explanations have less meaning in upside-down Hudson than many would prefer.

      You'll notice (above) that it was Republicans and Democrats who defeated the attempt to force a SEQR environmental review for the truck study, just as it was Democrats and Republicans who vanquished the public interest to conduct an honest SEQR review for the waterfront program.

      Enough members of both parties amended the zoning in 2011 even though the public couldn't have known everything that was in the law until 2013.

      Both parties in Hudson are overly addicted to state grants, members of both wrongly assuming that such grants are ultimately free.

      Members of both parties in Hudson place business interests before environmental and historical issues, as we repeatedly learn from the wrong ideas repeated by both which are so often criticized here.

      In the mayoral race between Republican Hallenbeck and Democrat Haddad, the former argued for an expansion of social services while the latter sought to reduce our taxes.

      Nice try, but Hudson is just too bizarre to support simplistic partisan polemics.

      That said, I agree the mayor should answer who he supposes he's serving when he says such things.

    2. I regret saying that "many would prefer" partisanship here, because I don't actually see that. Perhaps the majority of residents grasp how strange Hudson is in this regard too.

  6. I'll relay the Mayor's concerns about random inspection stops the next time I find myself in one.

  7. Just put up "NO TRUCKPASSING" signs, have chief Moore drag the offenders to the station and make them walk back to their trucks. Works for fishing.

  8. My house is located on the truck route in the Fifth Ward. I have talked to everyone possible and gotten the runaround from everyone from our state legislator to the mayor at the time. I understand saying that "the fifth ward owns this," but I can tell you now that the fifth ward residents are just as frustrated as anyone. Hudson is unique in having so much that needs to be done, so much of which is said to be "the priority," and so much of which WILL NEVER get done.

  9. I live on the truck route in the fifth ward. I can say that the fifth ward residents are just as frustrated as anyone else, and it almost doesn't matter who is elected for any of the positions that could influence what happens. I have gotten the runaround on this from mayors, from state legislators, and from council members.

    Hudson is unique in being a town where so much desperately needs to be done and where all of what needs to be done is considered "a priority." And where the failure rate on these priorities is just about 100 percent.

    By the way, my house is between two stoplights. I have seen trucks crests the slight hill approaching Route 66 from the east and zoom right through a red light, trying to make the light they can see ahead at the corner of Aitken and Fairview.