Thursday, February 6, 2014

It Was Ever Thus

Calming, minimizing, eliminating truck traffic through the city is a goal for 2014 set by Council president Don Moore. Last month, the Economic Development Committee engaged in an extended discussion about strategies to achieve that end. Yesterday, a reader brought to Gossips' attention an item that appeared in the Hudson Evening Register in April 1917, which illustrates that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The motor truck problem is adding new anxieties to the burden of municipal management. The remarkable increase in the truck traffic increases the toll of street accidents. Householders declare that the passing of heavy trucks endangers walls and foundations. If the ten-ton moving masses are driven at a rapid rate through residence sections, the vibrations they cause are alarming. The problem of minimizing these effects and dangers is enlisting the attention of traffic experts.
An eastern investigator points out that the destructive energy of a truck moving at a speed of eighteen miles an hour, is nine times as great as that of the same truck going at only six miles an hour. "To drive such a mass through the streets at a speed of twelve and sometimes eighteen miles an hour, is criminal," he declares. "To expect the driver to have such a load moving at such speed under control is criminal negligence."
The investigator proposed a graded rate of speed for loaded trucks, beginning with six miles for a 20,000-pound mass, rising to ten miles an hour--the high speed limit for two-ton loaded trucks. He declares that the momentum and accumulated energy of these heavier vehicles driven at a rapid rate, concentrate destructive forces that are out of all proportion to the service the vehicles render.
That last statement is particularly true today, when the majority of the heavy trucks passing through Hudson are doing just that--passing through--and render absolutely no service whatever to the city and its residents. 

To put things in perspective, this is what a heavy truck looked like in 1917.


  1. Traffic was a problem since the Neolithic. What's new since 1917 is the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), which is a means to study problems before they occur.

    Following are the individuals who threw away Hudson's opportunity to study this ancient problem before it reached its current, intolerable level:

    The combined votes of Aldermen DONAHUE, HUGHES and SHOOK defeated a resolution which would have forced a traffic study.

    A solution would likely have included Claverack, whereas now Claverack can just refuse us.

    Alderman Donohue may even have been Chairman of the Public Works Committee at the time.

    Please learn about SEQRA to fully grasp what these individual aldermen invited upon Hudson. As penance, Messrs Donohue and Hughes should recuse themselves from any further consideration of this problem.

  2. one hundred years ago they identified the problem, speed. it takes no study, no call to Albany, nor Greeport, nor Claverack to slow the big boys down. with the stroke of a pen the police commissioner can drop the speed limit to 25. that is the one thing that can be done right now, today, without a lot of fuss or bother, without a vote by the common council.