In a comment on Facebook yesterday, John Rosenthal took issue with the claim that the proposal would remove trucks from our streets and with the claim the "haul road" through South Bay, once known as the "causeway," has been there forever. Rosenthal's statement, published with his permission, appears after this c. 1893 post card image of South Bay, found in the attic of a house on Willard Place and first shared by Sam Pratt on his blog on 2010.
The current proposal does not eliminate the use of the state truck route by Colarusso, in fact, the company has said it intends to keep using the truck route to supplement traffic as necessary. What their plan calls for is the building of a new double-lane road through the South Bay, along an old railroad berm. This new, expanded road would be built in a conservation district where roads are currently prohibited. They are not proposing to use an "old haul road" as there never was one--at least until recently. Historically, there were railroad tracks and a long disused access road for maintenance of those tracks along the berm. All of these long ago went out of use. Around 2011, the previous landowner built the current private haul road. The City rezoned in response, locking in the single lane "haul road" and dock as nonconforming uses (freezing them at their dimensions in 2011), allowing for entering and exiting the dock via a private, single lane. Colarusso bought the property in 2014, after the rezoning took effect and began arbitrarily using their private haul road in one direction, rather than routing their trucks back and forth across a single lane. The company chooses to send empty trucks back out along Front Street and Columbia Street to rejoin the state truck route. They are abusing City streets to try to force a zoning change. They have a single lane, private road and pretend that they can only use it one way. Their proposal would only reduce truck traffic in the First and Second Ward, something they could do now immediately if they slightly altered their proposal. Instead, they are trying to get the City to change the zoning laws that were already in effect when they bought their property. In essence, this is a crisis of their own making. They can operate right now without any hassle and remove trucks from the streets, but instead they demand we carve out a special concession that will distort the mixed-use balance at the waterfront.COPYRIGHT 2017 CAROLE OSTERINK