The nine-member Common Council ad hoc committee tasked with addressing the issue of trucks in Hudson met for the first time last night. The committee is made up of five councilmembers (Margaret Morris, Amber Harris, Ryan Wallace, Dewan Sarowar, Mohammed Romy), two county supervisors (Abdus Miah and Linda Mussmann), one member of the public (Donna Streitz from Our Hudson Waterfront), and Mayor Kamal Johnson. Of the five councilmembers, only three were present at the meeting--Morris, Harris, and Wallace. Sarowar and Romy were absent. At the meeting, it was clarified that only the five councilmembers are voting members of the committee.
a committee chair. Morris proposed herself, a proposal that was supported by Ryan and Harris. Morris then defined the goal of the meeting: "to set out what we are going to try to accomplish." She then identified the topics: (1) the truck route; (2) the issue of trucks regularly traveling off the truck route, west of Third Street.
Morris opined that the committee should be thought of as a task force or a work group rather than "a committee discussing policy" and repeatedly stressed the need for action. In the course of the meeting, Morris gave "homework" assignments to four of the members:
- Harris is to gather quantifiable data about air quality to demonstrate the connection between trucks and higher rates of asthma in Hudson
- Johnson is to speak with the Code Enforcement Office and the Hudson Police Department about enforcing the code as it pertains to the truck route and weight limits
- Streitz is to speak with MJ Engineering, the group that did the truck study, about getting more detailed data on the impacts of Option 6 and Option 12, the two alternate routes favored by those responding to an online survey conducted in April 2021
- Morris is to speak with the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) to determine what regulations regarding trucks are imposed by the state and what is within the purview of the City of Hudson
About 34 minutes into a meeting that lasted for about 50 minutes, Mussmann brought up the elephant in the room: the haul road. "If we are considering the truck route and Abdus's petition," Mussmann said, "then the haul road should be considered as part of the conversation. . . . It is a remedy that would help Abdus's petition immediately if it were to actually happen."
Morris responded, "I want to be very careful not to interfere with anything before the Planning Board." She then outlined an elegantly simple way that gravel trucks returning to the quarry could avoid passing through the Second Ward. Since DOT prohibits trucks coming off the haul road to turn left onto Route 9G, they could just turn right, go south on 9G to the roundabout, and then follow the truck route back through Hudson. This is something they could have been doing since the roundabout opened back in October 2019.
Mussmann countered, "There is an alternative being proposed, and to erase it from the discussion is not fair." Claire Cousin, county supervisor representing the First Ward, added: "From listening to what supervisors from other towns have said, there is not much for them to entertain until there is some resolution around the haul road."
Streitz suggested that the committee needed a mission statement, or purpose statement, and read a draft she had prepared. The following is what Gossips was able to transcribe of that statement. The ellipses indicate spots where what she said could not be deciphered with certainty. The statement can be heard in the videorecording of the meeting, starting at about 40:11:
We as Our Hudson Waterfront think it is super important that the City take as an official position that the truck route needs to be moved for the sake of countless Hudson households and businesses. The existing truck route is an environmental and infrastructure disaster. There are viable alternatives, and while we will work with our neighbors, we will not allow them to hold this crucial change hostage . . . and will politely refuse to undermine our own Planning Board and zoning laws and will work hard to convince the state to move the truck route. . . .
Morris said she thought it was important that, instead of a mission statement, the group have a charter to establish the scope of work for the group. She asked Streitz to circulate her draft statement to the members of the committee so they could discuss and come up with a document at the next meeting.
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