Thursday, July 7, 2022

Regarding the Truck Study

Last month, Mayor Kamal Johnson made an unannounced update to the Common Council on the status of efforts to get the truck routes moved out of Hudson. What he said wasn't very encouraging. The mayor maintained that the issue of the state truck routes, which bring eighteen wheelers through the city on their way to someplace else, could not be separated from the issue of Colarusso, its operations at the river, and the proposed haul road through South Bay. According to the mayor, "Greenport and Claverack are not interested in separating those two issues. . . . The State isn't going to choose between municipalities . . . without some kind of understanding and agreement and partnership between those municipalities, and from any conversations with other county supervisors, they're not in those conversations unless the haul road is decided." Exactly what the mayor said can be heard here, between 5:56 and 9:43.

Next Thursday, July, 14, a 6:00 p.m., the Common Council is holding a special meeting to receive an update on the truck route study and the efforts to reroute the trucks out of Hudson. The meeting was called by three councilmembers: Margaret Morris (First Ward), Ryan Wallace (Third Ward), and Dewan Sarowar (Second Ward). The presence of the mayor and the five Hudson supervisors--Claire Cousin (First Ward), Abdus Miah (Second Ward), Michael Chameides (Third Ward), Linda Mussmann (Fourth Ward), Rick Scalera (Fifth Ward)--is requested at the meeting.

On the issue of trucks in the city, and as a preview of how things might go at next week's meeting, this past Tuesday, Second Ward supervisor Abdus Miah submitted a petition to Assemblymember Didi Barrett, Mayor Kamal Johnson, and members of the Common Council, the Planning Board, and the Zoning Board of Appeals regarding "Heavy Haul Truck Traffic" in the Second Ward. The following is quoted from Miah's cover letter:
I am writing regarding the petition of Heavy Haul Truck Traffic going thru the 2nd ward, City of Hudson. People living in 2nd ward are facing many issues because of Heavy Truck Traffic like noise and vibration disturbance in neighborhood residents, Several Health issues and so on. Many children play and senior people walk around this neighborhood streets. Pavement condition is poor on these roads and heavy wheel load causing severe deterioration. Also, there are many sewer pipes under these roads.
I kindly request you to look into this issue quickly for a prompt and satisfactory solution. Please take a strict step to enforce the Heavy Haul Truck Traffic exclusion on the 2nd ward.
The petition itself focuses on the health risks to vulnerable populations caused by truck traffic and is more specific in its request. The following is quoted from the petition:
As you know, the 2nd ward of Hudson has the highest engagement of school-age kids and a large concentration of senior citizens who regularly travel thru the lower part of Columbia St. Heavy haul truck traffic not only poses a danger to the youth at the Hudson neighborhood playground but also increasing risk of lifelong chronic disease of asthma. So, as a resident of the City of Hudson, we are requesting our elected officials to put a halt to all heavy haul truck traffic up the lower half of Columbia St., from Front St. to 3rd St.
The only trucks that travel on Columbia Street below Third are Colarusso's gravel trucks.

It is the opinion of some that letting Colarusso have its way will eliminate the gravel trucks on the streets. At the informal Council meeting in June, after the mayor talked about not separating the issue of the truck routes from the Colarusso issue, Council president Tom DePietro said, "Let's be clear. That's not to say that we are pressuring the Planning Board in any way to make a decision." That's clearly not the case with Miah's petition.  


  1. I don't see why they can't use the gravel road now both ways. It could easily be coordinated with cell phones and/or radios. Just ban the trucks from the city streets and they will have to do it, problem solved.

    1. If it were that simple … it’s unconstitutional. Next.

    2. Is it? You can't ban them from the truck route, but can't city streets off the route had weight and size limits?

  2. It's the same BS over and over with these people, under different guises and circumstances. They should satisfy the board with compliance about the "haul road" (i.e., the ecological impact), repair it and use it, and stop trying to BLACKMAIL the City of Hudson into falling for its sleazy tricks and slimy, wink-wink, subterfuges. There should be, and in fact is, no conflict about the proper solution and outcome. Follow the law, and follow the environmental justice. And stop endlessly victimizing Hudson.

  3. What did Police Chief Ed Moore say at a recent CC meeting regarding truck traffic on Columbia Street? I believe it was: "We have the truck route, and we all know it won't be going anywhere soon." At a more recent meeting I asked DPW superintendent Rob Perry how he felt about the truck route running through the city. An innocent enough question, worthy of an insightful response, right? His response was astounding and disturbing: "I have no comment," he said. Kamal Johnson seems to be no help either. If City Hall power brokers are resigned to the trucks damaging us and our city, there can be little hope that a change will come soon. There has got to be a better way. Bill Huston

  4. Like Linda Mussman's signs, I am afraid Abdus' plea will do nothing to improve the situation. There has to be a mass movement with people, literally, in the street. Perhaps then something might happen.

  5. The mayor has the leadership and negotiation chops of a piece of wood. He’s a child trying to deal with adults. So of course he’s out maneuvered at every turn (no pun intended). The real failure here is by Didi Barrett. She’s supposed to represent the entire district. When was the last time she was in Hudson? Eating at the Maker? She’s been in the legislature for a decade. She’s done what for Hudson? For the county? No leadership no vote.

  6. My small home town is a county seat with a big courthouse on a square. My dad got the first, southern, bypass for traffic done through the legislature when he was in the state House; the city got a second one done that circles the town to the north. I asked him why the second one and he said, "We had 18-wheelers running right through town and in front of the Rialto (the old theater that is the heart of downtown), and we couldn't have that." Thinking of Hudson I asked how, and he said, "the city got a millage tax for a limited time because the state wants to see some skin in the game, it was for a small amount, but it worked; the tax is over with now and the bypass is working: downtown is safe for cars and pedestrians." The city had to work not with an intransigent neighbor city but with dozens of homeowners and eminent domain, but they also went to the trouble to zone the northern bypass, out in the country, so that it could not be commercialized. So now it is essentially a parkway in look and feel. Hudson needs truly invested leadership in positions to make things happen. One way we know we don't have that here is that the city could do a good deal to remediate the effects of the truck route -- stopping the engine brakes, monitoring the speed of the trucks, monitoring emissions. Any one of those things would improve life in Hudson and is do-able. But they have no true interest in solving this problem. Most of the improvements to the city -- for better and for worse -- have been individual initiatives.

    1. Eminent domain is easier than multijurisdictional negotiations. But the City can’t condemn property outside its legal boundaries. You are correct, however, in that the City leadership — both executive and legislative — has neither the desire or ability to lead a chicken across a street let alone change a truck route or do anything else approximating work. The mayor is an incompetent: the council president a an unskilled magical thinker. Each is only useful as a paperweight.

    2. Agreed on the differences in difficulties! Just stated them here to show that the situations are not parallel. When I asked my dad last night more about this and why it didn't take so long there as here, he said, "I am one of those people that cannot stand to see things not make progress, and I goosed it along in every way possible, at every step of the way." Not sure we could describe what's happening -- or not happening here -- here that way. The consensus in my neighborhood is that the survey we all participated in was just to placate us.

  7. Our DPW puts out bids for street repaving every two years thanks to State funds in something called the CHIPs program at the DOT. Colarusso wins the bid every time because they, with machinery, manpower and materials, are so close in proximity to Hudson. Each contract, through the city, totals around $300,000. Hudson pays Colarusso and later the State DOT reimburses us. Our pals, Colarusso.
    Of course Rob Perry, the guy in charge of our crumbling infrastructure and streets, has no comment about the truck route. He needs Colarusso to repave the very streets that Colarusso is destroying with their constant flow of trucks to and from their facilities in Greenport and down by the river. He pays them and they both thank one another. See you in two years. It's enough to make a head spin.

  8. Gossip's is correct."The only trucks that travel on Columbia Street below Third are Colarusso's gravel trucks." To be clear, 2nd ward Supervisor Miah petition needed to make a distinction between the Gravel Trucks and Long Haulers that are passing through Hudson via NYS Truck Rtes to another destination. That catagory of trucks would only go down Columbia St. in 2nd Ward, due to error. The majority of Gravel Trucks turn up N.3rd (23B/9G) to get to Docks when barges come in. Some do go down Columbia St. to Front St., but not the majority and they are NOT Long Haulers.
    This usally occurs when the full parade of Gravel Trucks come at same time.
    The 2nd & 4th Wards takes the hit from LongHaulers, as N3rdSt to is the division line

    1. Not entirely true, Prison. There is the water treatment plant on Dock Street, and DPW allows septic companies to empty their loads there for a fee. DPW does this for one reason alone: It brings the city revenue. Stand at the corner of Columbia and Front any weekday and you will see and hear the poop and pee trucks come and go, and they are ridiculously heavy and loud, especially when full. All diesel engines, and DPW allows these trucks to idle when waiting their turn to unload. I have witnessed 5 trucks waiting in line, with last truck idling close to an hour before its turn.. Of course, surprise surprise, the nearest neighborhood to the treatment plant is our most underserved one. All this damage to the roads, our lungs, and an already neglected neighborhood so that the city can make a few dollars. Talk about environmental injustice and recklessness. Do you think Rob Perry gives a hoot?

    2. bb, I didn't finish this comment and it disappeared, so I just let it be. . I'm referring to Miah's petition to Didi Barrett as the 2nd Ward Supervisor to CC,
      "I am writing regarding the petition of Heavy Haul Truck Traffic going thu the 2nd ward, City of Hudson."
      There are citizens that have worked long and hard on this, so this whole petition of Miah's is just muddying the waters and he needed to consult with the People & the Planning Boards that have been dealing with the complicated Gravel Truck issue for a long time now and also the People  that have been working on the problems and solutions with Long Haulers and Truck Rte in general, for a long time.
      2nd Ward Supervisor Miah means well, but it seems like he was acting impulsively, more like he wanted to show he was doing something and yet only speaks of the 2nd Ward part of Columbia St. He is mixing the Gravel Trucks with Long Haulers passing through, many times via GPS, to elsewhere and muddling the problems. Two different, yet overlapping issues, within 2 complicated issues.
      It's as if Miah has no idea what a mess all the Gravel Truck issues are and how long and hard so many people have been working on that, with rotating Planning Boards and attorneys..
       As an elected official representing 2nd Ward to C.County,  his petition as written is not something to present to our elected NYS Assemblyman.  Miah needs to get up to speed and start attending Planning Board meetings and read the vast amount of material on what has been going on for years now, with that.These Long Haulers passing through are 53' ++ Tractor Trailers and some with sleeper cabs. Trucks that have deliveries to Hudson...well, that is another story.
       Many to most of The Maker Hotel's deliveries for their multiple businesses , are that size and deliver on N3rd St. section of Truck Rte and they were just stopping, leaving trucks running,  unattended and unloading right on the Truck Rte, blocking traffic for 20 to 30 minutes as it was a maze in there with no plan.
      . Twice denying the people of the neighborhood a public meeting with the sole exception of Laura Margolis,  2 different Planning Board Planning Boards left a disaster with zero thought on how this business was going to get their constant deliveries. It was a traffic disaster. They refused to help, or even acknowledge the problem..Walter Chatam was the Chair of the Planning Board .
      Good luck bb, with the so-called "depot district".
        Since Chatham wouldn't even address the problem, we had to sort it out- without the help of our 2nd Ward representatives or 4th Ward representatives.
      We live here.
      It had to be nipped in the bud. We then learned that Lawrence Park was going to open across the St. from Maker. 
      It was thanks to Chief Moore, Lt. Miller, DPW, and advice from DOT, that helped us work this out.
       It's been 3 yrs + of very hard and unpleasant work . It's still not over, but we made it as safe as we could for now.
      23B/9G is N3rd between Warren and Columbia.It is an 18th century street that is too narrow to have parking for any vehicle,  at any time, ever. The houses and buildings are 18th century and 19th century on a hill...

       So bb, those septic trucks have business taking place here, like it or not, and they aren't as big
      as Gravel Trucks or Long Haulers, it is legal for them to go off the Truck Rte. A huge Moving Truck, that is delivering in Hudson off the Truck Rte. can do that. Any truck that is delivering to Hudson can.
       The Gravel Trucks are delivering in Hudson too, although it's a Greenport business.. 
      . Like, all poodles are dogs, not all dogs are poodles - same with trucks and the laws here.
      There are no weight restrictions on either. Size restrictions are set by NYSDOT on NYS Truck Routes. Environmental injustice, quality of life restrictions do not exist in Hudson for trucks..

    3. A lot to take in there, Prisoner.
      My point with the septic trucks: The trucks would not be rolling through downtown Hudson, on and off the truck route, if DPW were not allowing them to dump sewage here. The trucks are here because DPW says it's something they and we want (need?) in the form of revenue. Another DPW superintendent might say "There is no justification, even financial, for more heavy trucks in our little precious and crumbling city. We have enough trucks and we have enough streets and pipes below the streets to deal with, pay for and worry about without heavy, damaging septic trucks that can go elsewhere to dump their waste. The treatment plant is ours, not for anyone else's use outside of Hudson." Unfortunately, this is not Rob Perry's thinking, and it likely never will be. Unlike your claim, Prisoner, the septic trucks driving thru town are INVITED here and there is no limit to how many can use OUR precious and expensive water treatment plant and idle their engines while they wait in line. Yes, they have business here, but it is business with the city that doesn't have to be happening. Why is someone's poop and pee from miles out of town finding its way to our plant? Why are these heavy trucks rumbling non-stop in and out of town if they don't NEED to be here? Because Rob Perry thinks it's a good idea and we OPT for it. And there is no discussion about it.
      This isn't confined to the septic trucks, of course. If Perry is encouraging these trucks to visit Hudson, disregarding their impact, where else does he think trucks in town are perfectly okay? How about everywhere and anywhere! "No comment!" he offers. Our DPW superintendent, making over $100,000 a year, can't be bothered and simply doesn't care about trucks on our streets, while a crumbling infrastructure keeps him busy and looking like he is in control. In case there were any doubt, he will show us the pictures at every common council meeting to prove it!
      If he doesn't care about ALL the issues related to ALL trucks on and off the truck route, we are completely screwed. He is not advocating or even hinting that the truck route and Colarusso's trucks have got to go. No one at City Hall is. This, in my mind, is THE problem, and is yet another sign of dysfunction at 520 Warren.
      We all deserve better. Much better. B Huston
      PS, Prisoner, you are mistaken: A driver of a septic truck told me that when full the trucks can weigh upwards of 35 tons. They require special engines to haul such loads. This is at or above the level of gravel trucks. Don't talk "big," talk "heavy," please. Size, in this instance, doesn't necessarily matter. And they are just as loud.

    4. wondering where the septic trucks come from and if they would be a card Hudson could play when negotiating with surrounding communities. Although sounds like there's no interest even if it were possible.

    5. I was told by a driver that there are few options in the HV for disposing of septic waste. Albany, Hudson and , I think, Pooghkeepsie. He told me that some septic trucks (this is primarily portajohn waste) travel to Hudson from as far away as ULSTER county. Rob Perry and the Treasurer's office probably don't care where the trucks come from or how many show up as long as they pay on time.

  9. Colarusso actually has two applications pending in front of the Hudson Planning Board. The first is for a Conditional Use Permit to operate their gravel dump on the waterfront. The necessity for that permit was triggered when the company did some modifications to their dock in 2016. The 2011 re-zoning of the waterfront district established that any physical alteration to the property would mandate a full review under the Hudson zoning code and NY SEQRA statute. Colarusso tried to challenge this in NY Supreme Court, but Judge Michael Melkonian tossed out their Article 78 while accepting none of their assertions. The Colarusso suit set the process back 1 1/2 years, but amazingly the company had the nerve to claim that the review was taking too long and should move more expeditiously.

    In the process of making that ruling, the Judge noted that Colarusso has no operating or grand-fathered status whatsoever. So the company has been operating for the past 6 years without any permits while they undergo the review process.

    And it's worth noting that in 2016, the Planning Board asked the company for basic details about their planned operation (hours of operation, routes used, volume of trucks, etc.) Colarusso refused, claiming that the data was "private, proprietary business information." Sadly, our Planning Board lacked the resolve to be assertive, and the review continued with the Board not even having the most basic information that they would need to arrive at an informed judgement on the application. Finally, the composition of the Planning Board was improved and they voted 7-0 to demand that Colarusso cough up the required information. The company reluctantly hired the firm Creighton-Manning, which did an excellent job, and the truth came out-- Colarusso is seeking a massive increase in the volume of truck traffic (400-500%.)

    The haul road proposition was bullshit from Day #1-- it was never about providing environmental justice by getting the trucks out of the minority neighborhood. It's always been about scaling up the volume level to the benefit of Colarusso, and possibly making the whole operation more salable to a big corporate suitor at some future point.

  10. Just getting the Colarusso trucks off Columbia St. doesn't solve the problem, because we would still be stuck with all the other thru traffic. And I don't foresee the day when Hudson will get any co-operation from other towns in the county on moving the state truck route. They have always regarded our little city as a dumping ground for stuff they don't want.

  11. In the wishful thinking category: a Hudson EZPass-type fee on every long-haul and gravel truck passing that doesn't have business within the city. I know, not do-able. But it's frustrating for the citizens to have to subsidize someone else's profits with no real return.

  12. I’ve analyzed the Truck Study raw data for the 5-day Study period and found that generally Colarusso trucks did not account for the majority of trucks on city streets. The data showed that all other trucks (non-Colarusso) accounted for:
    o 82% of 1,678 daily average trucks on city streets
    o Almost 60% of 125 trucks on Columbia St above 3rd St
    o 45% of 47 trucks on Columbia St below 3rd St.
    The solution to the City’s truck problem is to get all the trucks off City streets (except local deliveries), not just Colarusso trucks.
    (Data is from the traffic survey financed by NY State and conducted by MJ Engineering & Land Surveying, P.C. of Clifton Park, NY.)

  13. Is there any group tasked with getting this done who could identify where the problems are and find solutions? A diverse group has been named here all of whom (from Didi Barrett to Colarusso to the outlying towns) as being part of the problem/solution but are unique entities each having nothing to do with each other. The survey appeared to come up with much better solutions than maintaining the status quo -- it remains to remove the actual obstacle or obstacles. Is it the outlying communities, for instance? If so, what postiive/negative incentives can get some movement there? Etc. It just feels like we've given up. Should we organize? What would be the next good step?

    1. Should we organize? We are organized -- but we've no leadership. This is Didi's job to do. A job she's actively shrugged off for the entirety of her tenure in the Assembly. This was Delgado's job; he only came to Hudson to have his picture taken. This is the mayor's job though that office has the least leverage. Organize? We are organized -- we vote in the unwilling and incapable in a highly organized manner.