Friday, October 1, 2021

Truck Study Complete

Photo: Bill Huston
It was announced today on the City of Hudson website that the truck study, which has been going on for almost a year, is now complete. According to the announcement, the report by MJ Engineering & Land Surveying, which can be found here, "paves the way to improve the lives of Columbia County residents by analyzing truck traffic and proposing two alternate routes that will benefit health and safety, economy, and quality of life." The announcement goes on to say: "One route uses portions of US Route 9, and another uses portions of NY Route 66 and 9H. Both options significantly reduce truck volumes along Green Street and 3rd Street, the most densely developed sections of the existing truck route with narrow streets." 

One of the proposed alternate routes appears in brown on the map below.

The other appears in yellow on this map.

The announcement outlines next steps: 
In order for the truck route to be changed, the following needs to occur: the creation and documentation of a feasibility study; coordination with local and state officials; investigation of the route identifying costs, impacts, upgrades required, and environmental impacts; submission of a request to the NYSDOT Regional Office/Counties involved; completion of traffic impact studies; continuation of public involvement; passing of new legislation; and compliance with the New York Vehicle & Traffic Law.


  1. Despite the report's claim that it isn't making any recommendations to the Planning Board, and an admission that "it is not anticipated that [the] design of any proposed alternative truck route will be affected by the outcome of Planning Board’s decision [on the Colarusso application]," nevertheless, these misled authors could not help but deepen their own and everyone else's ignorance by repeating the common falsehood that "the City would approve Colarusso’s application to the Planning Board" if it was truly "committed to reducing trucks from residential streets" (p. 1-15).

    This statement reveals their tremendous ignorance - even in the authors' willingness to opine on a subject they practically admit they have not studied. In the entire report, there's the only one substantive sentence about the city's 10-year-old waterfront program, a program and plan which provided the template for removing gravel trucks from our streets: "The existing truck route passes through the boundary area of LWRP; however, the proposed alternate truck route options do not fall within the boundary area of the LWRP" (p. 4-5).

    This report has no business repeating anyone else's rumors, then claiming that the repeated nonsense isn't a kind of "recommendation"! Then why put it in there?

    Indeed, the above-quoted statements are akin to a kind of corruption, even if that means nothing more than repeating the deliberate redirections and misrepresentations of politicians like Linda Mussman.

    For years, Supervisor Mussman has routinely misled her constituents, pretending that any failure on the city's part to award the private gravel enterprise whatever it demands is an affront and a threat to the 2nd Ward. At the same time, though, she conceals the truth about the LWRP, which is that all parties already achieved the solution for rerouting gravel trucks from our streets in the Great Compromise of 2011.

    She understands the LWRP, but if she endorses the compromise to remove gravel trucks from streets she'll also loses an issue which delivers lots of votes, however ill-gotten. We're talking about a cynical politician who exploits a personal advantage, first by lying about the LWRP, then by sewing discord in the community, and finally by reaping the rewards of the ensuing class and race resentment.

    Now, in a single sentence, this latest report sums up and recapitulates everything that is wrong and distorted about Supervisor Mussman's invidious campaign of exploitation.

    Terrific job, amateurs! Thanks a load.

  2. Colarusso is proposing two brand new intersections on the major routes leading in and out of Hudson (Rte. #9 and #9G.) Dump trucks would be crossing those busy highways at right angles, and the crossing in the wetlands along #9G would be particularly dangerous, as it sits at the bottom of a long hill. Vehicular traffic at that place is traveling at high speed, and the location is a favorite place for city and state police to set up radar traps. Why we should be going to such great lengths to accommodate a gravel company in Greenport is a mystery to me.

    1. C'mon, there's no mystery. The waterfront program (LWRP) was as much an accommodation for the gravel industry as it was for city residents.

      And how exactly are we "accommodating" anything if our shared goal is to get the trucks out of the city?

      Moreover, it was the all-around compromise in 2011 which first conceived of the two intersections which you're now calling "brand new." Why are you characterizing the 10-year-old plan that way?

      As long as the industry is here to stay, then it's not too accommodating to encourage an alternative truck route it took us three years to develop a decade ago. Conversely, we would certainly lose far too much to suddenly abandon the LWRP alternative in favor of a larger, widened private road. And those ARE the two alternatives, unless you have another plan.

      In 2011, the "other plan" was the impossible dream of eminent domain. But in the end that achieved nothing other than providing cover for our lazy "activist" neighbors whose attention spans were no match for the draft LWRP. (And where are you all today, erstwhile comrades?)

      At bottom, your comment puts us in the same boat as 10 years ago, supposing that the industry will somehow magically disappear.

      And that's why it is just as magical and reckless as it was a decade ago to abandon the compromise we struck in the LWRP. It may feel momentarily righteous, but in the end it will come up empty-handed just as it did before. At that point we've left a vacuum for something else to fill, and all for what? For the thrill of being "right"? Maybe for an empty idealism?

      While we can't deny the landowner's vested rights to use its property for trucking gravel (as memorialized in multiple legal contexts), we do need to get the gravel trucks out of the city, to protect the South Bay, and to restrain runaway industry at the waterfront.

      In short, we need the 2011 LWRP. We do not need to reinvent the wheel.

  3. How many decades will the next steps take to complete?

    1. How is your comment fair to the Planning Board when the applicant has used every trick in the book to set the pace by presenting false information and even by rearranging the process?

      But their stratagems can only work when people who normally don't pay attention are fooled into bringing pressure onto the Planning Board. (I'm talking about you.)

      The Planning Board's SEQRA review on the conditional use permit should have commenced on March 9, 2017. Instead, the applicant launched a storm of bogus arguments which was finally tossed out by the court on January 2, 2019. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

      The company is reading this right now and laughing.

    2. Well, there is only one solution, the city should declare eminent domain and take possession of the property for a park - of course after there is an environmental review and the current owners pay for pollution remediation.

    3. P. Winslow, you leave out the cost of the eminent domain, who pays for this "taking," and where the money which is in the millions of dollars would come from. If I didn't know any better I'd suspect you of being a US Congressman.

      On the other hand, you may well understand the impossibility of the prospect and are only arguing eminent domain to derail a more responsible discussion.

      Eminent domain failed in 2011 for the same reason it would fail today. Without the money for the taking, it's just a cruel mirage.

      Instead, we must all learn to coexist, a lesson the applicant might put into practice.

  4. I genuinely don't wish to infer criminality on anyone's part, so I don't, even in private conversations.

    But how did the universal perception get started that a "segmentation" occurred which improperly launched two Colarusso reviews instead of one?

    It's all traceable to a now-disgraced NYS DEC staffer who's since been removed from any matter affecting Hudson. She was replaced after the public cried foul.

    Imagine a scenario, then, where an order to facilitate the review came from Cuomo's office. Nothing as specific as "segment this review," but simply a command from on high to smooth the way for this particular landowner. It was easily unilateral, a not unusual gesture for Cuomo and his ilk pursued out of friendship.

    The public was already onto something in 2015, the year before the "haul road" proposal ever became public knowledge.

    In the autumn of 2015 we submitted public comments on the bulkhead-and-revetment proposal to federal and state regulators. It took about a year before the state responded, when the DEC issued the permit, and the Response to our comments on the permit, on the same day.

    In the official Response of September 2016, Trish Gabriel, a DEC Region 4 permitter, denied any knowledge of a proposal greater than the waterfront projects we were commenting on. But by the time we got the state's Response, everyone knew of the "haul road proposal" [sic], which the current review for ALL conditional uses on the property amply demonstrates is one and the same overarching project.

    In fact, Trish Gabriel lied. And we've all lived with the consequences of her initial segmentation ever since.

    It wasn't until 2017 that we learned that Gabriel had in fact taken a full site tour of the road proposal - everything from the mine to the waterfront - in April 2016! That was five months before her official Response to our comments that she had no knowledge of a greater project.

    Was that criminal on Gabriel's part? I'll let you decide.

    But before anyone suspects A. Colarusso & Son, Inc. of a private arrangement with a single DEC-staffer, Trish Gabriel, there was a second serious problem in her Response to our comments which suggests that other state agencies had received similar orders.

    Frankly, I tend to disagree with the only other member of the public who even begins to understand the following issue. It was in our comments in 2015 that we also asked, How can federal and state governments permit a 180-foot rip-rap revetment when the land beneath it is state-owned?

    And here's where I truly believe in a greater conspiracy, which in Albany requires no stretch of the imagination. How was it that the DEC-permitter Gabriel, after stating a collaboration with the NYS Office of General Services, knew enough about 19th and early 20th century underwater land grants to invent a nonexistent document which she cited by [fake] name and [fake] date in her Response? After acknowledging that she worked with the OGS, does anyone really believe that she conjured the fabrication all on her own?

    Ask yourselves, then, what was the source of all these lies which straddled different agencies and formed a definite pattern in support of a segmented SEQRA review?

    Again, if an order to facilitate the applicant's projects came from Cuomo himself (we snail-mailed every comment and complaint direct to his office), then all of these irregularities may have been accomplished by the governor acting unilaterally, and strictly out of friendship.

    When you consider all the agencies involved in the lies and subsequent cover-ups - more than the DEC and OGS alone - then I believe this is the most plausible scenario. In that case, the Colarussos are guilty of nothing aside from having friends in high places.

    The long and the short of it: it sticks in the craw to now hear my know-nothing neighbors complain that the Planning Board's review is taking too long. Please, don't be morons.

  5. Both of those routes include Healy Blvd in Greenport, turning on and off Route 9/Fairview Ave., and rte 66 at the other end. It is a very rare thing now to have any tractor trailers on that road. For safety`s sake it should remain that way. What we/Greenport will have, especially at Healy and Fairview, can be summed up thusly: a crap show. Maybe avoiding Healy as part of an alternate route isn't feasible, but it seems so unwise. Moving one crap show in downtown Hudson to the next town. Now it`s their turn to deal with the scourge of trucks. B Huston

  6. Run quickly the sky is falling. What resident of Hudson would pass this hypocritical report onto their neighbor and say unto themselves what a great solution we have at hand.
    And what might you think if Claverack, etc. citizens did unto you what you have determined is best to do to them? I say shame on you.