The recently formed ad hoc committee dedicated to getting trucks off city streets meets for the first time today at 6:00 p.m. In anticipation of that meeting, the Hudson City Democratic Committee (HCDC) sent a letter this morning to Mayor Kamal Johnson and the Common Council. The letter, which apparently was written by Dorothy Heyl, who identifies herself as "Acting Secretary and Treasurer" of HCDC, and signed by Heyl and all the members of the HCDC, offers the committee's "full-throated support of the petition submitted to the Council by one of our members, Abdus Miah, the official elected by the Second Ward to represent their interests as County Supervisor." Miah's petition addressed specifically trucks traveling on Columbia Street west of Third Street, which is not part of the officially designated truck route. The petition, which has 180 signatures, can be found here.
The letter from the HCDC reiterates the point made by Miah's petition that "exhaust from the trucks poses a serious health risk to the large number of children and senior citizens who live on Columbia Street" and continues:
The HCDC views the high number of heavy trucks on Columbia and State Streets as an egregious example of environmental injustice. For the last seven or eight years the low-income residents of the Second Ward have suffered from the injustice of these trucks using their neighborhood as a thoroughfare, and they have finally found their voice. Hudson needs to address this injustice.
The letter also addresses "another form of injustice mentioned in the petition: the high cost of damage to city streets by Class 8 trucks," asserting: "The harmful impact goes beyond potholes and ruts, and extends to the high taxes paid by city residents, who must pay for the constant maintenance and repair to streets not built for such heavy axles."
The following course of action is urged by the letter:
The solution is to refuse to spread the harmful impact of these heavy trucks to city streets west of 3rd Street. None of the streets west of 3rd Street, including as well as Warren, Union, and Allen Streets, are on the City’s Truck Route. The City Code is clear that trucks belong on the defined truck route and must not use roads off the truck route except for local delivery. . . .
The heavy trucks spewing soot along Columbia Street were never entitled to use that road and could have been ticketed for straying off the truck route, which goes no further west than 3rd Street. They are not making local deliveries in the Second Ward. Instead, they are delivering to a dock in the 1st ward via a private road, and choosing to go through the 2nd ward for their return trip, instead of via the private road. We understand that there is ample space . . . for the trucks to turn around for the return trip, which was contemplated by the zoning restriction in place when Colarusso acquired the property.
We urge [the] City to address an injustice too long oppressing Hudson residents who live west of the Truck Route. . . .
Forcing Colarusso to use the road through South Bay for trips both to and from the waterfront is the same solution proposed back in 2011 by then Council president Don Moore, when it was O&G not Colarusso that was running gravel trucks through the city: "To and Fro, from the Quarry to the Dock." That it never happened was because the Department of Transportation would not allow the trucks to make a left turn onto Route 9G from the haul road, then known as the "causeway," making it necessary for the trucks to make the return trip on city streets or make a longer journey back to the quarry by way of Route 23 and Fingar Road.
The entire letter from the HCDC can be found here. Reading it is recommended as prep for this evening's ad hoc committee meeting. Also recommended reading is this Gossips post from June 2013: "The Tyranny of Trucks." It summarizes the issues we are still facing, nine years later.
The ad hoc committee meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. The meeting is a hybrid--taking place in person at City Hall and on Zoom. Click here to join remotely.
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